On Thursday 29th June, Jo Churchill MP marked her re-election to Parliament by contributing to debate of the Queen’s Speech. Speaking in the Chamber, she discussed the government’s pledge towards jobs and the national economy.
Speaking only for a short time, Mrs Churchill drew upon the vibrant local economy in her Bury St Edmunds constituency as well as making a positive case for aspects of the Government’s economic record:
“Bury St Edmunds is a great place to do business with a thriving small business sector that is outpacing the national average… I welcome this Queen’s Speech to inspire entrepreneurs—I have been employing people—but the shadow Chancellor’s picture was one of gloom, high tax, borrow and spend. That is not the right way to deliver jobs in any economy. Bury St Edmunds is in the top 20% of economically active constituencies and it reflects a sound economy.
The UK employment rate is nearly 75%. Unemployment is 4.6%—the lowest since 1975—but 690 people in my constituency do not have a job. We need to get them one. We are here to create the right environment and opportunities, and to break down barriers so that everybody can show their talents and abilities.”
Mrs Churchill went on to put forward the business case in delivering jobs, warning that businesses may currently struggle to deliver more, higher paid jobs:
“It is often the case that the more a business raises wages, the lower its profit margin and, therefore, the lower its corporation tax return. All the talk saying that everything can be solved by corporation tax rises is nonsense. We must have an eye to what we force businesses to do. A constituent of mine in her early 60s said, “Please do all you can to stay in power for the next five years to give lots of people job security.” She is paid only just about the national living wage but she says that she would rather earn that in a steady job than be on jobseeker’s allowance. She said that she is not poor and she is not the rich elite, but she looks to us to provide security.”
However, Jo offered an optimistic note as she concluded:
“We need to ensure that the climate is right and that people have the right skills so that employers and employees thrive. I am pleased that the industrial strategy is bold and follows growth. It is good that we should invest 2.4% of GDP in research and development…
…We need to ensure that we actually inspire when we see opportunities, such as in our further education colleges. I want West Suffolk College in my constituency to be one of the leading institutes of technology, driving opportunity and connecting business.”
Speaking after the debate, Jo Churchill commented:
“This Queen’s Speech debate concerning the economy was an important national debate following the election. As a country now looking forward, I wanted to make the positive case for our record and how this has benefitted my Bury St Edmunds constituency, as well as make a positive case for what we should be looking towards.
With a thriving small business sector across my constituency, I wanted to make the point that jobs and taxes must not come at the expense of businesses; who must deliver on both. It is evident that fiscal responsibility and support for businesses has nurtured growth in areas like Suffolk but, as I stated, it is right we look to make future investments and for our future generations.
This I believe, will be a crucial debate going forward and I was pleased to have been able to speak up, at this stage, and make the case for my Bury St Edmunds constituency.”