MP’s Column - A lot done, but a lot more to be done

September marks the beginning of a new parliamentary year, so it’s probably useful to look back and see what the Government has managed to achieve so far.

Income tax has been cut for 31 million people, while substantial progress has been made in reducing the government deficit.

The National Living Wage will provide 1.7 million workers over the age of 25 with a pay rise.

Employment figures are rosy too, up by 3 million since the 2010 General Election.

There are also over a million more businesses in the UK since 2010, which helps provide employment and, through taxation, pays for our NHS.

Giving our young people the skills they need to survive is vital, which is why I’m pleased that 1.8 million more pupils are being taught in schools ranked ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ since 2010.

Your tax money is being invested in proper technical education as the Government launches the most ambitious set of reforms to post-16 education for seventy years. Funding will be provided to increase the number of training hours for 16-19-year-old further education students by more than 50 per cent.

In addition to this, more than 3 million new apprenticeships have linked young people with businesses so that they can acquire the specific skills necessary for our economy to grow and for them to enjoy good job prospects.

Right now Brexit is at the forefront of our agenda, so forging better and closer trade links with the rest of the world is a high priority.

The International Trade Secretary and the Foreign Secretary have been spanning the globe to explore our future trade and investment relationships in a wide variety of key markets.

The Prime Minister has recently been to Japan, the world’s third largest economy. Japanese companies have already invested £40 billion in the UK and as Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, pointed out, many have decided in favour of new investments after the Brexit referendum.

Recently the Government announced a new landmark offer for working parents: thirty hours of free childcare per week to be rolled out across the country.

Working parents need the support of the community, and that includes the state.

The cost of childcare creates an additional burden which has been holding too many families back, which is why working parents of 3 and 4-year-olds will be able to access this new offer.

We hope this saves families around £5,000 per year, with around 390,000 families eligible to participate.

This is part of a record investment into childcare of £6 billion every year by 2020.

This programme should improve family finances, help create a better work/life balance, and allow working parents a greater flexibility in working hours.

A lot done, but a lot more to be done as well.

My job here in Westminster is to make sure Lincolnshire is properly represented and that the Government is securing a better future for the entire country.

I look forward to seeing this done across the coming parliamentary year.

Sir Edward Leigh MP

Gainsborough Constituency