Over the last two months, a field of immensely talented candidates have being trying to become Britain’s next Prime Minister. The result, following a lengthy selection process, is that Liz Truss is to be our next PM.
The Foreign Secretary and Trade Secretary during Brexit, Liz Truss already has the international and European relationships and experience to tackle the issues of borders, Brexit and small boats that affect our area. It’s vital we stop the small boats to prevent further loss of life in the Channel¸ tackle dangerous criminal trafficking gangs and secure control our waters and borders. Prime Minister Truss has confirmed it is a top priority in her in-tray. I will continue to press this new Government to do everything possible to bring the small boats crossings to an end.
This week I also joined the outgoing Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, in Downing Street for the last time. Much has been achieved under his national and global leadership. Boris led the country through some of the greatest challenges we have faced since the Second World War. Here in Dover and Deal, his leadership protected us when the world was hit by the Covid pandemic. It also created opportunities to strengthen our local healthcare provision and local economy – from Buckland Hospital’s new acute diagnostics centre to positive recent employment figures. Locally we saw the employment growth rate between October 2020 and December 2021 at 2%, much higher than the national rate. Unemployment benefit claimant figures are down by over 1,100 people in the last year. Work to tackle youth unemployment and improve skills has been effective to bring down youth unemployment locally too.
However, just as we began to get on our feet, a whole new and massive challenge has arisen out of Russia’s war on Ukraine. The cost-of-living crisis, caused global supply chain issues from the pandemic and war in Ukraine, is severe and is affecting everyone. Boris Johnson’s Government was able to act quickly and effectively through passing direct financial stimulus to ease the burden for all households and especially those that need it most at this challenging time. But more needs to be done as the energy bills continue to rise.
Prime Minister Liz Truss has outlined her firm intention to deal with people’s energy bills, secure the UK’s energy supply, deliver for the NHS as well as to cut taxes and grow the economy. Further support for household bills is expected to be announced within days.
The selection of a new Prime Minister dictates a new direction, style and vision for the country. As we take this bold next step forward, with Liz Truss, this will be a new chapter for our country. I look forward to working with the new Government and to continue to be a strong voice for our community, putting Dover and Deal first.