Westminster Column

10th February 2012

This week and last has seen the beginning of a cold spell but we are much better prepared than in previous winters to deal with severe weather. Going into this cold spell, national salt stocks stood at over 2.4 million tonnes allowing our Council, in partnership with Amey, to treat 1,200 km of routes every night across our region.

The Cold Weather Payment was triggered for Sutton last week and this Government has made the £25 rate permanent. Payments are made automatically to those entitled to them but people who think they may be entitled but do not receive a payment should contact the Pension, Disability and Carers Service, or Jobcentre Plus.


The Government has three priorities this year: growth, aspiration and modernising public services. We will work to help more people get a job and get on in life in a Britain that has the best, modern public services.

We are continuing our rescue mission on our economy - dealing with the huge deficit we inherited is the single most important step towards recovery and growth. Our aim is to be the most pro-growth Government in living memory. We will stand by our promises to enterprise, business and people and demonstrate that there are no ‘forgotten areas’ of the UK when it comes to growth. Our credible economic plan is keeping interest rates low and Britain’s credit rating has been restored to its previous highest possible level. Our message is clear, Britain is a good place in which to do business.

This Government supports people who want to get ahead and who want their children to get ahead. We will focus on supporting those most in need and helping families with the cost of living. We recognise that times are hard for families up and down the country and we are committed, even in these difficult times, to help those whose household budgets are being squeezed. In view of this we have continued our Council Tax freeze from last year and we are cutting Fuel Duty and Income Tax for 25 million people. In addition, we have extended free childcare, increased Child Tax Credit and addressed rising Energy prices.

A major programme for modernising the public sector is underway to create better schools, hospitals and a fairer welfare system. We are updating Britain’s public services to cut waste and introduce choice by encouraging competition and opening up to new providers.