Christmas and New Year are such optimistic times of year; people have a confidence and happiness sometimes rare to find during the long weeks at work.
I am going into Christmas with optimism about the year ahead. This week we have seen a wave of good news: UCAS announced more young people than ever are going to university, 496,000 in 2013.
Apprenticeship scheme figures for Milton Keynes showed that 2,300 young people now have the opportunity to enter a place of work. It is vitally important that we train young people to meet the needs of businesses as we compete in the global race.
On the economy, this week the Office for National Statistics announced that 30million people are now in work – the highest ever number – and in Milton Keynes unemployment has fallen once again from 2.6% to 2.3%. Almost 400 new business units were set up in MK in 2013.
The government has had to make some tough decisions in 2013 but the green shoots of recovery show that the plan is working.
We have cut the deficit by a third, 1.4 million new private sector jobs, net immigration cut by a third, crime down by more than ten percent, benefits capped and an average tax cut of £600 for 24 million people.
It is important that as a city and as a nation we continue and not give up on the past years of hard work.
Economically 2014 is a year I am optimistic going into. The Office for Budget Responsibility is forecasting a 2.4% growth in the UK economy for 2014.
There is no doubt, as we have seen before, Milton Keynes will play a key role in this growth. This city is a buzzing hub for business, we have some of the biggest names in the world setting up shop and of course we have an ever growing number of SMEs taking advantage of MK’s ambition.
There is still more to be done. I will continue to emphasise the importance of apprenticeships and vocational training, I will carry on championing HS2 and the benefits it will give the city, I will carry on lobbying the Chancellor to give more support to businesses.
I know this government is willing to take the tough decisions we need to so that future generations are not burdened with our debts.
I truly believe that thanks to the steps this government has taken, in the long run the country will have more money its pockets, not in government debt, and the UK will be the best place in the world to do business.
If we keep on the path we are going we will continue to see positive figures like we have seen this week.
I am looking forward to 2014.
MP for Milton Keynes South