Looking back on 2008, and forward to 2009 - Droitwich Standard
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A new year should be a time for optimism, but it’s not quite so easy this time around.

The past year has been a worrying one for many, as the economic boom gave way to the inevitable bust. But for the people of Worcestershire there has been good news and encouragement too. Let me offer just three examples.

Work on re-opening the Droitwich canals began and is proceeding well. Once completed, they will bring a real boost to the town, drawing in more visitors and providing recreational and leisure facilities for current residents.

The county’s growers will benefit from the government u-turn over the Seasonal Agricultural Workers’ Scheme, which allows students from Eastern Europe to come to the UK as temporary agricultural workers. This literally means the difference between success and failure for many in Worcestershire’s countryside.

The patriotism and compassion of the people of Droitwich was again demonstrated in the huge turn-out for the annual Remembrance Sunday parade and service. This event always fills me with pride to represent the town in Parliament. So it was good too to hear the Government announce the timetable for the withdrawal of our troops from Iraq. I often think of our brave armed service men and women who will spend Christmas and New Year in hostile and far away lands. Separated from their friends and loved ones, they deserve our highest respect and gratitude.

We will face huge economic and international challenges in 2009 and politicians will have to make difficult choices to protect jobs and our security. But we must also remember the many things we have going for us locally and nationally – things to encourage and inspire us.

I wish all of you and your families a very Happy New Year, and my best wishes for 2009.


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