Alok Sharma's Westminster Diary: May 17, 2012
Published 18 May 2012 09:30 0 Comments
AS IS tradition, following the Queen's Speech setting out the Government's agenda and the Bills which will be coming forward in this session, there follows a week of Parliamentary debate on its contents, around broadly themed topics such as business and economy, jobs and growth.
Indeed, right at the start of her speech, always written for her by the government of the day, the Queen noted that the first priority will be to reduce the deficit and restore economic stability.
Some still believe we can spend our way out of a debt crisis. But you only need to look at one or two countries in the Eurozone right now to see how, without a credible deficit reduction plan and without our current AAA debt rating and record low interest rates, Britain could end up.
There is a lot of economic uncertainty right now, especially with sluggish growth in the Eurozone, which means we absolutely need to expand our exports to growth markets like China and India, and also our biggest trading partner, the US. The latest non-EU export figures are encouraging. Britain has just achieved its first quarterly trade surplus in cars and automotive parts since 1976, and in March our non-EU exports grew by 12%.
We all need to do our bit to encourage local firms to export more. Newbury MP Richard Benyon and I will shortly announce details of an event aimed at helping local companies to focus more on exporting.
Last month I nominated local education charity TLG Reading - which helps youngsters excluded from school back into education, training or work - for an Inspiration Award from Kids Count, a national organisation seeking practical solutions to the broad spectrum of issues affecting children and young people.
Last week I welcomed TLG Reading to the awards ceremony in Parliament. They did brilliantly and were Highly Commended for the MPs' Special Award for Best Contribution by a Community Group. Fitting recognition for a first class local charity.