James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire - Conference initiatives certainly get my backing (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire - Conference initiatives certainly get my backing
12:00pm Thursday 3rd October 2013 in News
I may have been rather rude last week about the process of the party conferences, which seem to be a waste of time and money for a backbencher like me. But that will not stop me being rather enthusiastic about some of the things announced at the Tory one.
The Help to Buy Scheme which will allow first-time buyers to find a mortgage guaranteed by the government with a deposit of only five per cent of the purchase price has to be good news for many young people trying to get their foot on the housing ladder. The Chancellor will just have to watch out that it does not create an unsustainable ‘bubble’ in the housing market.
That his economic plan – Plan A – seems to be working is to his credit, although he was right to acknowledge that standards of living in general have taken a knock in recent years. Freezing fuel duty will help people and small businesses alike.
The notion that the long-term unemployed should be required to take part in community projects if they are to continue to receive benefits is likely to be welcomed both by those in work, and by those searching for a meaning in their lives.
And I rather applaud the two old colonels who stood up to heckle Philip Hammond on his disbandment of the Second Battalion, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. Well done them – that sort of opinion forming is exactly what the conference always used to be about.
The PM’s speech will happen after this column has been written, but you can be confident that the tone of cautious optimism for the future, with an economy firmly going in the right direction, will be his key-note. Expect the phrase ‘for hard-working people’ to recur.
There will, I very much hope, be clear blue water between us and the sharp lurch to the socialist left of Mr Miliband’s speech last week.
For me, it was the Royal Wootton Bassett in Bloom prizegiving, a long interview with Heart FM, a day in the London office wading through paperwork, a visit to Royal Wootton Bassett Town Council, School Milk Day at Christian Malford Primary, a planning meeting in Lyneham, Chippenham’s Great War Project Launch, a supper in Lea, surgeries, a dog show, a silver wedding party... of such events is the constituency MP’s week made up. I revel in such things as the great in the land showcase their wares at the party conferences.
Thank goodness parliament is back next week.
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