ONE of the best ways of finding out what people think is to ask them.
That is why I recently visited 80 local villages to talk to people on their own doorsteps – the largest face-to-face exercise undertaken by an MP in this constituency.
Where that level of contact is not possible I also do my own surveys.
Two examples: the level of broadband service we receive and the issues facing providers of nursery education.
The latter is particularly important. It is right at this time that we focus on key groups within society such as the very poorest and the lowest earners, many of whom are women.
Adequate childcare is one of the best ways of helping women and I am pleased to see the government investing in childcare, including free early-years education for many disadvantaged two year olds.
Universal credit, part of the government’s welfare reforms, will lift nearly a million people – including 350,000 children and many women – out of poverty.
Taking 1.1 million of the lowest paid workers out of tax will benefit some 650,000 women.
Maintaining international confidence is crucial to allowing us to do all this.
We now know that the last recession wiped out over seven per cent of GDP and that excessive spending burdened everyone with debt.
There is nothing fair about running huge budget deficits and burdening future generations with debts we cannot afford to pay. That is why the first priority for government is to continue the rescue mission of the British economy.
An additional one per cent increase in interest rates could leave the average family with an additional mortgage payment of £1,000 per year and it could lead to an additional £7 billion of business costs.
Some businesses would fail and jobs would be lost.
We should all care that we maintain our fiscal credibility. If we don’t the impact will be worse in the long-term.