NJK Parish Council Newsletter

There's been a lot going on locally and nationally recently. After the battle we fought together over the recycling facility at Norton, a lot of my time has been spent fighting a proposal for a waste incinerator at Hartlebury - but Norton is still very much in my mind!

For example, your parish council has been in touch with me to express its concerns about the threat of changes to the boundary between Worcester and Wychavon.

I want to reassure you that I will provide robust support to keep the all the villages of my constituency in the Wychavon District Council area. It is really important that places like Norton and Whittington don't get swallowed up by Worcester. It would just be wrong for such a rural area to be looked after by a city council - and I shudder to think what may happen to planning policy. I must stress that the proposed boundary changes are, as far as I am aware, just speculation at the moment. However, I will keep a close eye on the proposals and support your interests whenever necessary.

Turning to national issues, you will have seen the results of the Spending Review by now and many of you have written to me worrying about how the cuts are going to affect you and your families. I have, though, been encouraged by how many people understand the need for action to deal with the deficit.

There is going to be a significant cut in public spending and it is going to affect pretty well everyone - but the country cannot go on borrowing 1 for every 4 we spend. We face a budget deficit of 155 billion, proportionately the worst of any major economy in the world and the largest in our peacetime history. If we didn't tackle the deficit now and make the tough but necessary cuts we have, we would be paying out 70 billion in debt interest a year more than we spend on educating our children, policing our streets or defending our country.

Although cuts are being made, that doesn't mean we can't still fight for the things that really worry us.

It would have been so much easier if the last government, when it was increasing spending, had closed the gap between us and the better funded areas by giving us a rather larger increase then those better-off areas. But they didn't and the gap got worse. If anything, at a time when budgets are under pressure, it's all the more important to fight for that fairer deal and that's what all the county's MPs a determined to do.

I'm now a minister in the government, which is a real privilege, but I never forget the people who made it possible - you, the people who voted for me. So if there's an issue you want me to look into, you know where to find me: House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.


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