This week my column comes to you during another busy week in politics. The news is rapidly changing on an almost hourly basis and yet as I write this on Wednesday afternoon, very little has actually changed in terms of progressing Brexit. We continue to await the outcome of the next EU Council meeting on 17th and 18th October.
While Brexit continues to dominate politics, I am pleased that under fresh leadership the Conservative Party is pursuing a compassionate one-nation domestic agenda.
Each week I respond personally to hundreds of letters and emails from constituents on a range of issues including the NHS, crime, law and order, education funding and local infrastructure. Residents of our Royal Town are passionate about current affairs and I’m always glad to receive correspondence.
Our domestic policies are already delivering for those that live and work in our Royal Town and right across the County. The additional £1.8 billion we have devoted to frontline NHS services will see improvements in our health and social facilities and our commitment to recruit 20,000 new police officers will help tackle anti-social behaviour on our streets. These are the issues that my constituents care about the most and which come up most frequently in the correspondence that I receive each day.
It therefore seems quite bizarre that the Labour Party has used their conference platform to focus on wild promises to create a four-day working week and the introduction of a universal basic income which amounts to a free-for-all handout to everyone in society, including the wealthiest.
Labour’s projected spending will cost the taxpayer hundreds of billions of pounds every single year and does not tackle the issues that matter most in our Royal Town. Such a reckless and irresponsible approach would lead to our national debt spiralling out of control, higher taxes and fewer jobs.
I was also extremely concerned to see that at the next general election Labour's manifesto will include a commitment to effectively abolish private schools.
In practice this means having to find and fund state school places for approximately 600,000 pupils. The Treasury will also lose important income that is paid in taxation by independent schools.
The motion which was passed by Labour delegates commits a future Labour government to seizing endowments, investments and properties held by private schools. This threat to grab privately owned assets sets a worrying precedent.
Abolishing independent schools will not help the children that need the most support and will not help to raise school standards. It saddens me that Labour continues to take extreme ideological positions. In the process, Labour is restricting the right of parents to choose how to educate their children and their policies threaten to destroy some of the world’s most successful educational institutions. There are also serious issues in a free society that arise from granting the state total control over what is taught to children in schools
We need to look forward as a country to a positive post-Brexit agenda which delivers for hardworking people rather than focusing on attention grabbing headlines and ill thought out policies.