The beginning of August marked the start of the Parliamentary recess, which has given me greater opportunity to attend events and visit various groups and organisations within the constituency. In many ways this is leaving the Westminster village for a return to the real world and the everyday happenings of my home town.
However, I am pleased to see that the new Government is not resting on its laurels with David Cameron leading by example holding Prime Minister Direct meetings around the country. At these he has launched a number of new policy initiatives., the latest of these being directed towards welfare reform.
The Coalition is taking very seriously the amount of fraud and error in the benefit and tax credit system. This is currently a £5.2 billion annual cost to the taxpayer and is quite frankly outrageous. To put that into perspective the cost equates to the cost of more than 200 secondary schools or over 150,000 nurses. As for the £1.5 billion of this total made up by fraudulent claims, this is money that is stolen from the taxpayer. As David Cameron said, "it is quite wrong that there are people in our society who will behave like this". The huge growth in welfare dependency in the past three decades has imposed an enormous burden on the taxpayer and while at the same time widening the gap between rich and poor. It is important that we begin to tackle these social divides that are apparent throughout the country.
On a personal level I have also been keeping busy during the recess period. I have just returned from visiting my eldest daughter who now works in Hong Kong, and during my stay had the opportunity to go to China to visit a manufacturing business and experience how such a rapidly developing economy approaches business. There I saw a real “can do” attitude and an interesting insight into the competition faced by British businesses.
I have also been arranging a public meeting in which all constituents are invited to come and discuss the proposed changes to Urgent Care Services at The Hospital of which will take place at the Benn Hall on Thursday 9th September at 7.00pm. I believe that it is important that the constituents of Rugby are given the opportunity to express their feelings on this important issue. It is my belief that we are now facing the challenge of a lifetime, and the new Government is right to begin to reduce our massive budget deficit. However, while this is understood across the country and even on the opposition benches, it will be increasingly important that in Government we remember our pledge to save, while maintaining, frontline services.