“It’s the economy stupid!” – was the famous quote used by the Bill Clinton election campaign in 1992 to help the US focus on what really mattered.
It has since become a well used political maxim - but even today the sentiment still holds true. The performance of our economy is absolutely vital for all of us as individuals, communities and as a nation.
But it is proving to be a long hard haul to get us out of this economic recession which began in 2008. The last month has seen a set of mixed signals – employment going up and growth of one per cent but borrowing is also up, and whilst inflation is lowering, it is not down as much as we’d like.
Here in Cumbria, we are not immune to the national or international scene - but that does not mean that we don’t have the ability to control our own destiny.
A couple of weeks ago a conference was held by Dods, the political communications company, at Carlisle racecourse called “Cumbria 2012 and Beyond”. Many people across the county attended, including Cumbrian MPs from different political parties. To my pleasant surprise, the general feeling of those at the conference was not doom and gloom but optimism in Cumbria’s own ability to drive itself forward despite difficult times.
But if we are to move forward, it is absolutely critical that we get it right.
Business in Cumbria must be supported - particularly local business, which doesn’t just create jobs, but livelihoods and a sense of community. And these businesses pay the taxes which support our public services.
We need to increase our skill base and decrease our regulation - including streamlining planning processes. Our default setting should be pro-business, not anti.
All that said, we shouldn’t forget the considerable array of talent and businesses that are already in Cumbria and Carlisle. Our manufacturing industry, for example, is something we should be proud of and something we should be sure to celebrate and promote in the future.
Rising prices have been a real concern for people and the resulting squeeze on the family budget has been noticeable.
Despite some easing on the rate of inflation, prices for things like energy, food, and petrol have risen steeply, having a huge impact on people’s finances in Carlisle and across the country.
Another major impact to the family budget is Council Tax. For the last two years in Cumbria it has been frozen and the Government has indicated that it will assist councils who choose to freeze it for the third year running. It is certainly my hope that this offer is accepted by councils in Carlisle - both city and Cumbria county. This gives them the perfect opportunity to show that they aren’t disconnected from the struggles being faced by people up and down the county.
Published: November 30, 2012
Have your say
Stop being so weak, Michael. It's somewhat pathetic. I sympathise with your view on the EU, but you cant just blame them for everything. We control our own destiny, as individuals, as a city, as a county and as a nation.
"We can control our own destiny" says John Stevenson MP?? A few weeks ago he was rightly complaining that because of EU interference we could not control our own destiny!! Which is it John? We are about to send a further Â£600million to the commissars in Brussels, because they have told us that is what they want.Meantime, we are telling our fellow countryman/women, we do not have enough money in the pot, so make do with less.I agree with our MP when he says we need to invest in our industries and education, and yes I was pleased to see that Osborne is making a further big increase in this area, but we need to do very much more, and if we would only stop giving taxpayers money away to the EU we could.One last question John, how can we control the immigration that is about to increase from Romania and Bulgaria? another wave of immigrants that we can do nothing about.So sorry John, we "CANNOT CONTROL OUR OWN DESTINY"