Posted by Andrew Jones, MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, at 16:01, Thu 17 May 2012:
As I write this, the economic news is changing fast. We do not know if the Greeks will be able to form a government. Events there may seem a long way away, but our news is full of the Eurozone crisis again.
There are recessions across Europe, and technically we are back in recession with the economy shrinking for two successive quarters. In reality I think this shows that the economy is flatlining with growth some months and not others – every month being close to the zero line.
It demonstrates the hole much of the global economy – including our own – is in. I don’t think it is credible for the opposition to simply throw their hands up in the air and blame the government. Does anyone seriously believe that if the country didn’t have £1 trillion of public debt and an average £1,800 tax bill per household per year just to pay the interest on the debts that we would be in such difficulty? And does anyone seriously believe that such an enormous level of debt could have been paid off in two years? We may, by the end of this Parliament, be somewhere close to stopping the debt growing but it will take decades to pay off the debt.
Whatever we do, we are not immune to this crisis. If we look at one area of our economy – exports – we see both problem and progress. I have been working to promote UK exporting, as a vital ingredient in our economic recovery. The latest data shows the uncertainty in Europe is hitting British exports, but despite this exporting as a whole is performing well.
UK exports have grown by 23 per cent in the last two years and we have had some notable success stories locally. Knaresborough-based GSPK Circuits Ltd have just won the Queens Award for exporting. The UK automotive sector last year exported just under £30 billion worth of goods – a record. I know that local businesses already have products and services which they are exporting all over the world, something I was personally involved in in my business career here.
And there is action we can take locally to ensure that businesses grow and our area remains economically vibrant.
Just a few weeks ago I held my first Jobs Fair at Harrogate High School. More than 30 local employers, with over 100 vacancies in total, met hundreds of jobseekers. The Council’s Economic Development team spoke to all the employers present about their needs and jobseekers enjoyed masterclasses on apprenticeships, online job hunting and so forth. Already businesses have taken on new employees whom they met at the event.
Later this year I will be running an event promoting exporting from our area. I want to encourage more local businesses to start exporting or to target new markets, perhaps targeting new countries or new products. I hope many local companies will come to this event and there will be details in due course.
Growth does not come from governments, it comes from businesses and entrepreneurs. Government creates the environment for them to grow. That is why, even with the limited amount of money available, many measures have been targeted at helping businesses grow. Corporation tax has been reduced and is set to be reduced further. Entrepreneur tax relief has been increased. Small start-up companies are being given national insurance breaks. Key infrastructure projects – like electrification of the trans-Pennine line – have been prioritised for spending.
Trying to fight our way to sustained growth in the midst of an international economic crisis with the mountain of debt the country has is painful and difficult. Only with thriving businesses and people in jobs will we succeed.
Andrew Jones MP 01423 529614 email@example.com
Visit my new website - www.andrewjonesmp.co.uk