Many headlines at the moment are related to our leaving the European Union. I personally am quite relaxed about this and have confidence that whatever the outcome of negotiations between the EU and the UK, that we have a bright future as an independent and outward-looking global nation. It is however disappointing that Labour’s official position is to vote in parliament against any deal that the Government obtains, simply because it is a Conservative Government negotiating it. As ever with Labour, this is about trying to inflict damage against the Conservatives for their own short-term political gain, rather than doing what is right for the country.
While there is a current focus on Brexit, there is much else going on that will also be good for the future. Prime Minister Theresa May has announced that the Government will scrap the cap on how much local authorities can borrow against their assets in order to finance new housing development. This will enable local authorities like Crawley Borough Council, who have statutory housing and homelessness prevention functions, to provide more social housing. Under the last Labour Government, Council House building stalled which contributed to the huge waiting lists we have today.
The NHS is getting its biggest ever cash boost with an extra £394 million every week to fund its long-term sustainability. Part of that increase will go on a new Cancer Strategy to speed up diagnosis and ultimately save lives. Cancer affects one in two people at some point in their lifetime and improving treatments and survival rates has to be a priority.
All public spending depends on a successful economy to fund it and it is great news that after a decade of adjustment for Government to live within its means, we are almost at the point where the deficit will no longer exist and we can start repaying our debts. This means that the amount of debt interest payable will start to reduce and we can increase long-term funding for public services in a sustainable way. Labour’s alternative of more borrowing and higher debts seriously risks our public services.
Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of Crawley Borough Council Conservative Group
17th October 2018