Dr Phillip Lee: 2012 is a tough year to follow but signs are goodBy Dr Phillip Lee
January 03, 2013
The year is out and it is certainly one that will resonate in our minds for some time.
We have seen the Olympic and Paralympic Games come to Britain; Her Majesty has celebrated her Diamond Jubilee, travelling up and down the country as well as abroad; and more than a million people lined the Thames river banks in pouring rain to watch the Jubilee River Pageant alone – such has been the enthusiasm of so many for their nation this 2012.
Finally, as if we were in need of any additional uplifting, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their first child, who, regardless of gender, will become King or Queen.
Yet, if we turn on the news, the Mayans are apparently correct: the world’s end is here.
Economic misery, political disarray and the much-disputed story of a Chief Whip on his bicycle.
Despite that narrative, this year has been extremely encouraging, not just because of the celebratory spirit but because of what has actually been achieved in our country politically.
We have been lifted out of recession with the reduction in the size of our bloated state starting to take effect.
More than a million jobs in the private sector have been created, bringing unemployment levels down to their lowest level since records began and placing us ahead of France and the United States in global unemployment ratings.
Reductions in taxation and the increase in the Personal Allowance have taken two million Britons out of taxation altogether and ensured those earning more than £100,000 per year pay more in taxation than the previous Labour Government.
Youth unemployment has fallen too, with more than 900,000 apprenticeships created, many locally with 780 people starting in one; an increase of 270 on the previous year.
Economic indicators and models are all well and good, but I am proud to have voted for policies which have produced visible results by offering hope to millions of young people up and down the country.
Moreover, Corporation Tax has been cut, encouraging more than 450,000 start-ups, of which 257 were started in the first six months of 2012 within my Bracknell constituency alone.
Council Tax and Fuel Duty have been frozen, helping millions of drivers.
Pensions have been increased by the largest amount since 1948 and the Government’s deficit has been reduced by 25 per cent.
Locally there is much to applaud too. Fourth generation and fibre-optic broadband will be rolled out across the constituency by late 2013 and Bracknell Town Centre regeneration plans continue to make progress.
I have immensely enjoyed engaging with many of you either in person in my constituency office, from behind the bar on my many local pub visits or on one of my regular walkabouts.
I have also appreciated meeting many of you at one of my half a dozen ‘new hospital’ and Q&A public meetings held this year and I hope more of you can attend my next one at the Holiday Inn, Maidenhead, Manor Lane, SL6 2RA from 7.30pm – 9.30pm on Thursday, January 10.
There is much more to be done nationally and locally but I think 2012 has produced some welcome results and 2013 will hopefully be as fruitful.