As Parliament draws to a close...

As the end of an unusually long Parliament draws to a close and the House prepares for its State Opening by the Queen, I find myself reflecting on the work achieved by this Government since the 2010 General Election writes Peter Luff.

Two years on, the programme of deficit reduction remains the most prominent and important Government policy. ĎDeficit reductioní is a phrase that we have all become well acquainted with over the course of this Parliament, yet it remains a painful necessity. Reducing the countryís debt and balancing the nationís books after the reckless spending by the previous Government, unfortunately cannot be done quickly.

While it is going to take more than a couple of years to reduce the nationís debt, the Government has taken serious steps to improve growth and kickstart our economy. The Budget last month saw business rates cut, so that our rates are now among the lowest in Europe. Policies such as the Work Programme are providing those seeking work with more support to reach employment and the introduction of an extra 170,000 more apprenticeship places is already helping to train our young people.

It has also been two years since I took up my position at the Ministry of Defence as the Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology. Balancing the defence budget while keeping our country safe and protecting our soldiers has been a challenge, but it is a challenge that I continue to enjoy.
So, two years in and there is still a long way to go. But 2012 is also a year in which we have so much to look forward with the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics and I remain positive about the future of growth and prosperity in the UK.

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