Gainsborough MP hails new Government investment in the county

Sir Edward Leigh MP
Sir Edward Leigh MP

While in many ways people have been better looked after in the past few years, it’s still true that there is a great deal of untapped economic potential here in Lincolnshire and across the East Midlands, writes Sir Edward Leigh MP.

The Government has been aiming to change that through the Midlands Engine programme which includes investing £400 million in the strategic roads network.

Unemployment across the East Midlands has fallen by 38 per cent and tens of thousands of new small businesses have been created.

I am very pleased to hear that the application for an East Midlands Manufacturing Zone in Greater Lincolnshire has been approved.

This zone will help facilitate the introduction of Lincolnshire’s three food enterprise zones which mark this county out as the breadbasket of England.

I am sure many of the businesses involved will be grateful for the announcement that fuel duty will be frozen for the ninth year in a row, which means small businesses and hard-working people will continue to keep more of their money.

Meanwhile the increase in the national living wage will give the lowest paid a leg up on the ladder.

A new rail card, meanwhile, will cut in half rail fares for 16 and 17-year-olds, while 26-30-year-olds will also benefit from a new rail card reducing their fares as well.

The rail network could still do with a lot of reform (why can’t operating companies buy new stock to reduce overcrowding?) but I welcome the recent announcement that the increase in rail fares overall will be kept frozen to the rate of inflation for the sixth year in a row.

Since the Conservatives entered Government in 2010, unemployment among young people has fallen by nearly 50 per cent.

The Government is creating more opportunities for young people today to build a better future in the United Kingdom.

It has been very humbling to learn that Her Majesty the Queen has appointed me to her Privy Council.

This body is still fundamental to the working of the British Government and, while not in the spotlights or the headlines, is central to the UK’s unwritten constitution.

This honour is tied to the work that I have done with the National Audit Office (NAO) and the Comptroller & Auditor General after several years serving as chairman of the public accounts committee and now of the public accounts commission.

I thank all the hard-working staff at the NAO for their efforts ensuring Britain has one of the best public audit bodies in the world.

Most of all, I must thank the constituents and voters who have continued to trust me to represent them in Parliament.

Without the support of the voters, all of this would be impossible.

This appointment is especially poignant for me because my late father served as Clerk of the Privy Council from 1974 until 1984.

I don’t yet know when I will be able to take the oath and assume my place as a ‘Rt Hon’ but when I do I will be thinking of him.