Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 30 September 2010

The school term starts in September, the financial year in April, but the political year always starts in October. We get back (properly) after the long recess and the party conference season and it is then eyes down, chocks away until the following summer with a steady diet of bills and government activity. Never more so than this October with massive decisions just around the corner, both nationally and locally.
Nationally, the coming month will usher in the Comprehensive Spending Review statement which will shape where the cuts in public spending are actually coming from not just for the next 12 months, but for the next 3 years. Believe it or not, your government is still having to borrow £450 million - new borrowings - every day! We cannot go on. The Parliamentary schedule is only just getting into its stride with a sack load of new legislation to come (some of which I support, some not).  The Labour Party has a new leader and soon a new shadow cabinet will be in place. These crew changes always bring new energy to our Westminster proceedings. So the run up to Christmas will be both gruelling and exciting, not to mention critical to our nation's fortunes.
Locally, the new season will contain many challenges, none greater than the expected October announcement of the outcome of the Strategic Defence Review. Our regional economy is heavily reliant on defence spending, and this long awaited statement is unlikely to bring us any good news. We know that the Army, Air Force and Navy have been locked in a royal battle all summer as to which if these services will bear the brunt of the pain, and informed speculation suggest that the Army has prevailed. Although the future of the dockyard is secure, we do not know what this will mean for the Naval Base. Fewer ships to base-port can only hasten the day a government announces the closure of one of its south coast bases. Whether that will be this time, or whether  Devonport or Portsmouth will ultimately prevail, is unknown. This autumn will be largely devoted to efforts to squeeze the best possible result out of government for our region, whatever the outcome of this review.
Other big decisions lurk below the surface, such as the preferred location of the controversial local incinerator.
I calculate that there are 86 days until Christmas. It promises to be anything but dull.

posted by Gary @ 09:45