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, 27 November 2014


For the first time since I was first elected 22 years ago, unemployment in this constituency has fallen below 1%.
Only 0.9% of our fellow citizens in Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge who seek work are without it. I recognise that not everyone is in the job of their dreams but it is encouraging nonetheless. We are on the right track.

It got me thinking about other statistics of this amazing constituency. If you are an accountant, you are about to become very excited. If you are not, you may wish to skip onto the car adverts. I am particularly indebted to the banks who compile and send MPs all kinds of interesting information.

32% of my constituents are over 60, and only 20% under 30. We have an ageing population. The cost of an average house here is £229,097, no wonder then that the average age of buying your first house has now risen to 38. Average monthly repayments are £472 with most people paying about 13% of household income on their mortgage. 321 houses were sold here in the past 3 months, which seems to me to reflect a growing property market.

Consumer spending has risen by 4% over the same period last year, suggesting that we are well on the road to recovery. Savings also grew by over 8% for people over 60, while at the same time those under 30 saw their savings reduce by 10%. This possibly reflects the salary freezes or miniscule pay increases that most people in work have had to endure in recent years, while retirement income has been largely protected. 54% of our employees earn more than the national average wage, which when you consider higher London salaries, is very encouraging.

Of our small businesses, 27% are in construction and real estate, only 2% in agriculture, and 22% in retail, which has seen turnover increase on average by 14% on the past 12 months.

This all speaks of an area slowly clawing its way out of the tough times and getting itself back on track, through sheer hard work. I realise that averages hide a multiple of truths and that there are many people suffering still and who have fallen on tough times. I know this because many people come and see me at my advice surgeries to discuss.

Since the bleak days of the 2008 crash we have made progress. Now we have to maintain and build upon it.

posted by Gary @ 14:20