14 MAR 2019

Brexit votes

UPDATED (below): As I set out in my public meeting last week, events, debates and voting on Motions in Westminster would be very fluid regarding how we would leave the EU.

Yesterday, I voted with the intention of keeping all options open to the government to try and secure a deal that would help us leave the EU. The government's motion was never actually voted on, as we voted on amendments first. That included me voting to keep no deal on the table and to keep the so called Malthouse compromise in play as a way to help negotiations.

The Commons voted by a majority of just 4 to amend the government's motion so that the UK should only leave with an agreed withdrawal agreement and future political declaration.

My concern is that Parliament has now voted in effect to give the control on how we leave the EU to the other 27 EU countries, unless we vote to endorse the already negotiated withdrawal agreement and future political declaration.

The government can present a statutory instrument to change exit date and today's motion suggests that would be 30th June. However, we need the other 27 EU countries to agree that new date, else we leave by default on 29th March. I think it likely that the EU27 would agree a short technical extension to allow formal ratification of the agreement and legislation to ratify the treaty, but only if Parliament agrees to what has been negotiated.

If Parliament cannot accept what has been negotiated already and given it has now resolved that we should leave with a deal, that gives the potential to the EU27 for all sorts of changes and the length of time that we could still be in the EU. It has been suggested that could be staying in as a full member till the end of 2021.

This week has been extraordinary and somewhat tense. The majority of people I meet in Suffolk Coastal are fed up with all of this and just want Parliament "to get on with it". I agree. I'm a democrat and I think we have to respect the 2016 referendum result. I continue to hope Parliament will do that.

UPDATE : I voted for the PM's motion to agree that if Parliament votes for the Withdrawn Agreement and Future Declaration that the PM could ask for a three month extension so we can do the necessary legislation in Parliament, as I think we will need more than a week to do it. I also voted against a second referendum. 

14 MAR 2019

Therese Welcomes the Chancellor's Spring Statement

Therese has warmly welcomed the Chancellor's Spring Statement. The Chancellor reported on a resilient economy which is creating jobs and delivering the fastest rate of wage growth in over a decade. The deficit this year is £3 billion lower than last forecast and debt is lower in every year – with lower taxes on families and more being invested in our public services.

He set out our plan for a bright future for Britain – staying at the cutting edge of clean growth, creating a digital economy people can have confidence in, redoubling our commitment to skills and world-class infrastructure, and tackling the big challenges like knife crime head-on.

As an MP for a rural constituency Therese said 'I was particularly pleased to see how we are leading the world to enhance biodiversity, whilst ensuring economic prosperity, by requiring developers in England to enhance habitats for wildlife alongside developments.'

Therese also welcomed the Government's plans for a new global review which will assess the economic value of biodiversity globally so we know what's needed to take action.

The key facts are set out below:

Wages will rise faster than previously expected. The OBR have revised up wage growth in every year to 2023, with wages growing faster than prices in each year and reaching a record high rate of 3.3 per cent growth in 2023.

Employment will continue to rise. The OBR expect to see 600,000 more jobs by 2023, meaning in 2010, there will be 4.1 million more people in work by 2023.

The economy will grow in every year. The OBR expect the economy to grow at 1.2 per cent this year, faster than Germany, accelerating to 1.4 per cent in 2020 and to 1.6 per cent in each of the final three years.

The deficit has been revised down in each of the next five years. The deficit will be £3 billion lower than expected this year, down to 1.1 per cent of GDP from almost 10 per cent under Labour.

National debt has also been revised down in every year. Debt has been revised down in every year and is set to fall as a share of GDP in every year, from 82.2 per cent next year to 73 per cent in 2023-24. Its first sustained fall in a generation.

More detailed measures are set out below:

Building an economy fit for the future

Cementing our position as a destination for new tech. To maintain the UK's lead in advanced technologies we will invest £79 million in a new supercomputer in Edinburgh, £45 million in research in genomics, £81 million in a new laser centre and reaffirm our commitment to the JET nuclear fusion reactor.

Carrying out a study of digital advertising later this year to ensure our digital markets are competitive and consumers get the level of choice they deserve. As recommended by Professor Jason Furman, the Competition and Markets Authority will carry out a formal study of digital advertising. This follows our announcement at the Budget that we will consult on a new Digital Services Tax to ensure large multinational businesses make a fair contribution to supporting vital public services.

Continuing to welcome the best and brightest to Britain. From the autumn, PhD level occupations will be exempt from the Tier 2 visa cap, and we will update the immigration rules so researchers conducting fieldwork overseas are not penalised if they apply to settle in the UK.

Building world-class infrastructure. Ten English cities will receive a share of £60 million for transport projects through the Transforming Cities Fund, and we will boost digital connectivity by rolling out fibre broadband to nine more local authority areas who will each receive a share of £53 million. The Chancellor has also reiterated our commitment to Northern Powerhouse Rail.

Forging new partnerships to build a Global Britain. We will set up a new export finance facility to provide more flexible short-term support to UK exporters as we leave the EU.

Supporting Families

Restoring the dream of home ownership for millions of young people. A new £3 billion Affordable Homes Guarantee scheme will deliver around 30,000 affordable homes. We will also introduce a new permitted development right to allow upward extensions without the need for planning permission.

Boosting wages and cutting taxes. We are increasing the National Living Wage this April to £8.21, an annual pay rise of £690 for a full-time worker. The Personal Allowance will also rise in April to £12,500 and Higher Rate Threshold to £50,000, cutting tax for 32 million people. And we will undertake a review of the latest international evidence on minimum wage.

Tackling period poverty. We'll provide free sanitary products for girls in secondary school, so no girl is ever forced to miss out on her education.

Supporting public services.

Tackling knife crime with £100 million of new funding for police. A further £100 million funding will be available to police forces in the worst affected areas in England and Wales for knife and violent crime.

Building world-class public services by increasing spending by above inflation. In the last two years alone, we've made the biggest pledge of any government since 1945 to our NHS, put £2 billion more into schools and police budgets will increase by up to £970 million this year. From 2020, at this year's Spending Review overall public spending will increase above inflation, with more for frontline services that we all rely on.

Green Growth

Staying at the cutting edge of Clean Growth. We will take steps to enable passengers to have the option of 'zero carbon travel', help businesses to cut their carbon emissions and their energy bills, further decarbonise our gas supply, and will introduce a Future Homes Standard, bringing the end of fossil-fuel heating systems in all new houses from 2025.

Leading the world to enhance biodiversity whilst ensuring economic prosperity. We will require developers in England to enhance habitats for wildlife alongside developments. A new global review will assess the economic value of biodiversity globally so we know what's needed to take action.

Reducing our dependency on natural gas by increasing the proportion of green gas in our system. To meet our climate targets we will reduce our dependency on burning natural gas to heat homes, accelerating decarbonisation by increasing the proportion of green gas in the grid.

Read more here - https://www.gov.uk/government/news/spring-statement-2019-what-you-need-to-know

08 FEB 2019

Therese Backs Country's Biggest Mass-action Environmental Campaign

Thérèse has helped launch this year's Great British Spring Clean, run by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy. The campaign, which runs from March 22nd to April 23rd, will see up to half a million people taking action to clean up streets, parks and beaches across the country.

The Great British Spring Clean brings together individuals, community organisations, businesses and councils to make a difference to the environment on our doorstep and in 2018 around 370,000 #LitterHeroes collected more than 630,000 bags of rubbish.

Thérése said: "As an Environment Minister, I'm absolutely committed to supporting this important initiative. We need to be united in making sure this becomes a habit that everyone gets into on a regular basis, of not allowing litter to be left. I hope local people will get involved by taking part and organising events."

Thérése added: "Through our Waste Strategy we are committed to ensuring producers and manufacturers helping towards better recycling, and one of the key aims of a future Deposit Return Scheme is to reducing littering."

Keep Britain Tidy Chief Executive Allison Ogden-Newton said: "The Great British Spring Clean is an opportunity for the millions of people who care about the environment on their doorstep to do something positive that will make a visible difference.

"Regardless of politics, everyone can agree that tackling the litter pollution that despoils our country is something we should all support and it is fantastic to have the support of Thérèse to help us reach our target of getting 500,000 people out, taking action to clean up every corner of the country."

To find out more about the Great British Spring Clean or to register an event visit www.keepbritaintidy.org

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