If ever there was an Election defined by the choice of Prime Minister, it is this
one. As I am travelling around the constituency it is very clear that residents
are united in recognising that on 13th December the Prime Minister of the UK will
either be Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn.
It seems to me that it will be this choice, more than anything us local candidates
may say or do, which will define the final outcome.
So what have we learnt so far and what topics have been raised on our travels through
Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire on this campaign trail...?
* This election has come about because Parliament has become trapped by Brexit.
It is blocking the way for numerous other initiatives and needs to be resolved.
Remainers and leavers alike have pleaded with me to get behind the new deal so that
we can get back to the subjects that impact on our daily lives. The new deal strikes
the right balance between those who feel passionately that the referendum outcome
should be honoured, and those who are quite reasonably concerned as to the effects
* I'm proudly pro-business, especially small and medium enterprises. Creating the
right planning and tax regimes is vital if our local businesses are to thrive, prosper
and employ more local people. I'm proud of the fact that national unemployment is
at its lowest level since the 1970s. Full time employment is at a record high and
up by almost 3 million since 2010. We've backed businesses by cutting corporation
tax and helping people to start their own small business. By cutting corporation
tax from 28% to 19% we have encouraged more businesses to invest and grow in the
* We will build the infrastructure that businesses need to grow including by investing
£5 billion to deliver gigabit broadband across the country, so that no business
is held back because of poor internet speeds. Rural areas must not be forced to
wait, so we will provide bespoke solutions to the 20% hardest to reach areas. We
will rollout gigabit-capable broadband under a dramatically faster timetable than
* That health remains the biggest issue to many families and the bulk of my casework.
Residents are full of praise for the brilliant service the NHS provides, but that
it's the "getting in" which is the challenge. The ongoing uncertainty about the
future services at both Withybush and Glangwili Hospitals worries residents and
hampers recruitment. Boris has also committed to the biggest ever investment in
the NHS (£34 billion over the next five years) which in turn will be passed down
to the Welsh Government.
* I have been asked about our tax plans and am pleased that we've cut taxes for
32 million working people so they keep more of what they earn. To help people with
the cost of living we have cut income tax, introduced and increased the National
Living Wage, extended free childcare, and frozen fuel duty for nine years. The
top 1% contribute over a quarter of income tax as we've made sure people pay their
fair share. We've repeatedly cut taxes for the lowest earners in our society -
leaving a basic rate taxpayer £1,200 better off than in 2010.
* Since 2010, we have secured over £200 billion through cracking down on tax avoidance
and evasion. We have invested over £2 billion in HMRC and introduced 100 measures
to tackle evasion, avoidance and non-compliance.
* The subjects of national security, law and order are always big election themes.
Suddenly the choice of Government became defined not just by local economic issues,
but by questions of leadership in the defence of the realm. We have committed to
recruiting 20,000 extra police officers. That's on top of the number needed to
simply stand still and will include our own Dyfed Powys force.
* Farming is in my blood so I'm especially keen to make sure that our exit from
the EU does not put our local farmers, particularly in the livestock sector, at
During this campaign we plan to get to pretty well everywhere at least once although
I accept that many people will be out when we call. With over 30,000 doors to knock
on in over 120 towns, villages and hamlets the target is a bold one!
So I would like to finish by thanking everyone for giving me and my team such a
warm welcome across the two counties; for the many conversations and discussions
we have; for being challenged and entertained, and for the pledges of support.
If there is anything you would like to discuss in greater detail at any point during
this campaign then please do contact me on [email protected]
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15 St John Street, Whitland, Carmarthen SA34 0AN.
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