Thurrock MP tells residents to “live within means”
Date posted: 21-05-2012
THURROCK MP, Jackie Doyle Price rose on the floor of the House last week to reflect upon the current economic circumstances in the country but illustrate the signs of recovery in Thurrock.
Ms Doyle-Price said:
“Let me begin by emphasising that the priority that the Government are making of dealing with the deficit remains definitely the right one. Some of my hon. Friends have drawn attention to the emerging view that there is a choice between pursuing growth on one hand and pursuing austerity and dealing with the deficit on the other. The simple fact is that deficit reduction and the pursuit of growth are not mutually exclusive; indeed, we lay the foundations for lasting growth when we go back to living within our means.
Jobs and growth rely on investment by individuals and businesses, not on Government spending. We must not be complacent about the economic challenges that face the country, which, as many Members have recognised, are being exacerbated by the uncertainty and lack of confidence prompted by the eurozone crisis, but the need to hold our nerve and pursue measures that will strengthen our competitiveness is more important than ever at this time of economic turbulence.
Let us look at the realities of what is happening in the economy. Of course unemployment remains a great challenge. It is currently too high, and we need to do much more to ensure that everyone who wishes to work can find a job. However, it is also true that employment is on the rise and new jobs are being created.
Many thousands of jobs are appearing on the horizon in my constituency. The Lakeside shopping centre is to be expanded, which will create new retail jobs. The new London Gateway port will create many thousands of new jobs, and is beginning to recruit for them. It is one of the largest inward investments in the country.
The existing port of Tilbury, which has just celebrated its 125th anniversary, is also being expanded, with the promise of a further 10,000 jobs. Despite the global challenges, there is good news in our economy.
I was struck by the comments of Margaret Hodge, whose constituency is next door but one to mine. We are linked by the A13 and the c2c rail link. A 15-minute journey for her constituents will give them access to the new jobs that are being created on my patch. Let me say to all Members that when times are difficult, it is our role as leaders to inspire and encourage, not to tell our constituents that there is no hope.
In order to maximise the opportunities afforded by investment, the Government must remain vigilant in playing their part in building a competitive economy. Ministers must not be complacent about the growth that we are experiencing; additional measures are still needed to enable us to maximise the potential of that growth. That applies in two specific areas: we need to continue to invest in skills to ensure that our work force has the skills that employers need and want, and we need to ensure that our infrastructure is fit for purpose.
I have talked about the massive growth in the port facilities in my constituency. Within this decade, more cargo will be landed in Thurrock than anywhere else in the country. However, in order for that cargo to go where it needs to be—and, equally, to move the new manufacturing products that we will be exporting—we will need sufficient capacity in the road network to enable those items to be moved around the country.
With that in mind, I welcome the recent announcement by the Under-Secretary of State for Transport, my hon. Friend Mike Penning that we are finally looking at designing and working up proposals to improve junction 30 of the M25.
That single project alone will unlock so much economic capacity in south Essex and will be a big tool in sustaining future growth. However, having made the announcement, my hon. Friend must do absolutely everything he can to ensure that the solution is fit for purpose. We cannot afford a sticking plaster; it has to deliver additional capacity.
To be frank, the measure is a long time coming. It should have been done by the last Government when they widened the M25, but as usual when it came to infrastructure, they were very short-sighted.
The second issue I would like to address is that of skills, particularly for the younger unemployed, who remain a significant challenge for us. I welcome the expansion of apprenticeships that we have witnessed—they have doubled in Thurrock, from 400 to 830 this year—but we also need to consider self-employed apprenticeships.
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