John Howell column

MP for Thame John Howell brings you his views in a monthly Thame Gazette column
MP for Thame John Howell brings you his views in a monthly Thame Gazette column

IT was good to see the pundits proved wrong this week.

GDP increased by 0.5 per cent in the three months to September rather than the 0.3 per cent some economists had been predicting.

This is both positive and welcome news that the economy continues to grow. Earlier in the month the independent office for national statistics had reported that the last recession knocked a whopping 7.1 per cent off the UK economy.

So we now know that the recession was sharper, steeper and deeper than had previously been estimated.

In answer to my question at Treasury Questions on Tuesday in Parliament, the Chancellor and his treasury team pointed out the support that international organisations such as the IMF were giving on the way the government is handling the economy.

There are three things that we need to focus on.

First, we need to continue to face up to our debts and our huge deficit.

It’s because the UK is sticking to its guns on the economy that despite the size of our debt we have market interest rates that are half those in countries like Spain and Italy. Secondly, we need to make Britain competitive.

We can do that by cutting corporation tax and making sure work pays.

But, a major factor holding us back is how out-of-date and inadequate much of our infrastructure is.

Lastly, we need to unlock trade for British businesses around the world.

So what does all that mean for business in and around Thame?

Improving our infrastructure is not just about big projects such as new power stations; it’s also about more local infrastructure projects that make our everyday lives miserable and business less easy to conduct.

The ones which were raised the most numbers of times on my recent tour around 80 villages in the constituency were the state of our roads (and the number of potholes) and the poverty of broadband and mobile coverage across much of this constituency.

Our local businesses need help to grow and deliver the prosperity on which we all depend.

They need red tape to be cut. Regulations costing businesses over £350 million per year have already been targeted.

We are on a mission to liberate small business, so why don’t we start at home? Why don’t businesses in and around Thame rise to the Red Tape Challenge by letting me know what regulations they would cut and why.