30 NOV 2011

Living Standards

I believe the Government's course of action, coupled with the policies they have announced over the last 18 months, are the right way to help raise living standards in our country, and help all those in Dover and Deal who are struggling to get by.

During the debate on Living Standards today I said:

I want to talk particularly about the importance of getting the country going in order to raise living standards. I pressed Mr Byrne on what Labour's growth plan was and how much it would cost. I will happily accept any intervention from Opposition Members on this, but it seems to me that it would cost billions. How would it be funded? It is clear that it would be funded by debt––more borrowing.

We have narrowly avoided suffering from the debt storm throughout Europe, but were we to give way on the fiscal rectitude that we have shown and to go to the markets and borrow to fund Labour's extravagant growth plan, we would be at risk of higher interest rates. Let us bear in mind that every one percentage point increase in interest rates means another £1,000 on the average mortgage.

Painful though the programme to cut overspending has been for so many people throughout the country, the most important achievement—the most important tax cut, if we like—has been the reduction in the cost of borrowing. It has helped so many hard-pressed families, including those in my constituency, to muddle through the recession as best they can, in a situation in which global inflation from imported goods, such as petrol and so on, has been higher and has put pressure on living standards, as every constituency MP understands all too well.

These are very difficult times not just for my constituents in Dover and Deal, but for everyone in the country who finds themselves without a large pay rise at work and facing rising global food prices. It has been a very difficult year, as the OBR makes clear. This year, average inflation has been 4.5%, yet average earnings have not kept pace. It has been difficult, and it has been a squeeze, but world prices, including in commodities and food, are something over which no Government have any great control. I, like my hon. Friend Mr Syms, have not heard from the Opposition any clear plan for what they would do differently to deal with the situation, but it does get better next year as those things work their way through the system.

See the rest of my speech and interventions here.

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Charlie Elphicke

It has been an honour and privilege to serve as Member of Parliament for Dover & Deal. I hope to be re-elected to serve our community for another term. 

Many of my appearances in the House of Commons are now on Youtube. Please click the link to watch the footage.

Please email me at charlie@elphicke.com or ring my office on 01304 379669 if you need to get in touch.

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