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Westminster Column


Earlier this week the Chancellor announced the seven Government departments which have agreed significant savings from their 2015-16 budgets as part of the next Spending Review. This Spending Review is about making the right savings in order to focus taxpayers’ money on the areas that matter most. These include the NHS, schools and the infrastructure that is going to create and sustain jobs in the future.

Recent GDP figures show that in the first quarter of 2013 growth was confirmed at 0.3 per cent. In addition, data released last week shows that borrowing in April this year is down on the same month last year and better than market expectations. These are encouraging signs that the economy is recovering. We have reduced the deficit that we inherited by a third, created more than 1.25 million new private sector jobs and are determined to carry on reducing the deficit in order to keep interest rates low for small businesses, families and homeowners.

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The latest quarterly annual immigration figures released last week by the independent Office for National Statistics show another significant fall in net migration - down by more than a third since June 2010. This has been driven in the most recent period by a decline in the number of people coming to the UK. The figures demonstrate that we now have a more selective system that cuts out abuse whilst encouraging the brightest and best migrants who contribute to the UK’s economic growth.

Looking forward, I know from the extensive correspondence that I have received from my constituents that many of you will welcome the Government’s Immigration Bill designed to reduce the pull factors to this country and make it easier to remove people who have no right to reside in the UK. The new immigration Bill will:

  • Stop immigrants accessing public services which they are not entitled to and compel landlords of private housing to check the immigration status of tenants;
  • Legislate to ensure that Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the right to family life) is not abused. Courts will have to balance the crime committed against the right to remain in the UK);
  • Stop the expectation that our health service is free to the entire world and will take new steps to ensure that the NHS can claim back money that is owed for treatment provided to those who are not entitled to it.


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