National priorities

The Prime Minister has set out his national priorities - halving inflation and growing the economy, cutting NHS waiting lists, and stopping the boats. 

Halving inflation and growing the economy.

Three of the Prime Minister's priorities relate to the economy - halving inflation, growing the economy, and reducing debt.

As a result of the war in Ukraine, we saw inflation increase dramatically. This meant that the cost of everyday items such as milk and bread was going up far too quickly.

Read the full Conservative manifesto.

The Prime Minister made it his mission to halve inflation, relieving the financial burden placed on families in Tynedale. When the Prime Minister came to office, inflation stood at 11.1%. Today, inflation is 2.3% - the lowest in almost 3 years. Progress is good and inflation is now on a downwards trend, meaning prices are rising at a much slower rate.

The Government is continuing to work to an inflation target of 2% - further supporting families with the cost of essential goods.

I know that people in Tynedale have had a tough couple of years with a higher cost of living. But as prices increased, the Government recognised that households were struggling and implemented the Energy Price Guarantee, capping the unit price of energy and saving the average household £1,500 on their energy bills.

To further support struggling households, the Government implemented a range of cost of living support measures.

Initial support

  • Every single household in Tynedale received a £400 energy debate to support them with high energy costs.
  • Means-tested Cost of Living Payments to over 8 million households on Universal Credit, Pension Credit, and eligible legacy benefits.
  • £150 Disability Cost of Living Payment to 6 million vulnerable people.
  • Over 8 million pensioner households received £300 as a top up to their Winter Fuel Payment.

Support into 2023

  • Second round of means-tested Cost of Living Payments, with a total amount of up to £900, which are made in three payments.
  • 6 million people across the UK on eligible ’extra-costs’ disability benefits have received a £150 Disability Cost of Living Payment.
  • More than 8 million pensioner households across the UK have received an additional £300 Cost of Living Payment as a top up to the Winter Fuel Payment.
  • State pension and benefit rates were increased by 10.1% in April 2023, reflecting the higher cost of living.

Taken together, the Government has supported households to help with the high cost of living to the tune of £104 billion in the three years since 2022.

I am proud of the Government's record when it comes to supporting the most vulnerable households in Tynedale through an incredibly difficult period.

Growing the economy.

The best way to grow the economy is by cutting your taxes. However, taxes must be cut in a responsible way, and only when the economy starts to recover.

With inflation cut dramatically from its peak, the economy is now turning a corner and the Government can start to cut taxes. In April this year, thanks to a cut in National Insurance Contributions, every single working person payed less in tax. For the average worker, this saved £450 a year. Taken together with the 2% tax cut last year, the average person in Tynedale will save an extra £900 every year.

Record numbers of people can enjoy a cut in-work taxation with employment at high levels. On a local level, unemployment has fallen by 46% in the last 3 years, with youth unemployment falling by more than a half as 7,000 apprentices have been created since 2010. I hold a Jobs Fair every year to get local people in Tynedale into work. 

Supporting Tynedale businesses.

I want to see our high streets thriving. Small businesses are the backbone of local communities, particularly in a tight-knit community such as ours. I was pleased to see the Government support local businesses at the recent Budget by making full-expensing permanent, delivering a £11 billion a year business tax for businesses that invest in Britain.This enables businesses in Tynedale to invest for less, cutting their taxes by 25 pence to every £1 of investment. It means for every million pounds a company invests, they get £250,000 off their tax bill in the very same year, increasing business investment by £3 billion a year, and supporting the local economy.

Cutting NHS waiting lists.

We all saw how hard the NHS was hit by the Covid pandemic. At the peak of the pandemic in March 2021, the number of patients waiting over a year for elective care increased dramatically, with over 430,000 one-year waiters. As we recover, the Prime Minister has made it his mission to cut waiting lists so people can access faster care.

NHS waiting lists are starting to fall, with patients waiting over a year for treatment down by 25% from the pandemic peak. The NHS continues to focus on the longest waits, with the number of those waiting over 65 weeks down by 60% when compared to the peak of 233,051 in June 2021. Last winter, when pressures on our NHS services are hardest, A&E and Ambulance waiting times fell compared to the year before. This is the first time waiting lists have fallen for 10 years. NHS waiting lists have now been failing for 5 consecutive months, freeing up more GP appointments, beds in hospitals, and operating theatres for crucial treatment that local people need.

Thanks to efforts of hardworking staff, the NHS has delivered improvements in A&E and ambulance performance last month – this is despite urgent and emergency care services experiencing their busiest February on record.

Locally, we have some of the best A&E and ambulance performance rates anywhere in the country. Our local NHS trust in Northumberland is one of the top performing trusts in the country - something we should be incredibly proud of. This is delivering for you on the ground, with Hexham Hospital consistently meeting its performance targets. I am determined to give our local nurses and doctors the tools they need so they can continue to provide excellent care to you in Tynedale. This means providing local people with local care facilities and I will ensure that Hexham Hospital has the funding it needs to expand and deliver more local services for people in Tynedale. 

The Government has also rolled out its successful Pharmacy First scheme, which means that people in Tynedale no longer need to book a GP appointment to access treatment for 7 common conditions such as a sore throat. Instead, local people can simply turn up at their local pharmacy, and easily access the treatment they need.

The Government is determined to tackle the backlogs caused by the pandemic and it has invested £2.3 billion in rolling out 160 Community Diagnostic Centres across England – the largest central cash investment in scanning capacity in the history of the NHS. Latest figures show these community centres have already delivered more than seven million tests, checks and scans across England, showing that if we stick to the plan, we can deliver high-quality care for people across the country.

Stopping the boats.

I know that many people in Tynedale are concerned about high levels of illegal immigration. The number of small boats we have seen crossing the English Channel has been unacceptable and it is not fair on hardworking taxpayers.

The Prime Minister has been categorical in his pledge to stop the boat crossings. Within 6 months of making this pledge, I was proud to vote to pass the Illegal Migration Act in Parliament which makes it clear that those who come to this country illegally will be swiftly detained and removed, either to their home country, or to a safe third country.

As part of this crackdown on illegal migration, an accompanying piece of legislation is needed, the Safety of Rwanda Bill. This Bill confirms that Rwanda is a safe country for the UK to deport illegal migrants to. I want to see flights taking off the ground now, but the Labour Party has frustrated our efforts in Parliament to stop the boats once and for all. They have voted against every piece of anti-illegal migration legislation at every opportunity, including voting against getting flights off the ground to Rwanda. A vote for Keir Starmer and his Labour Party would simply be a vote for open borders and uncontrolled immigration.

The Rwanda Bill has now passed and I look forward to flights taking off to deport illegal migrants in the near future.

While the Labour Party offer no credible alternative plan to control immigration, the Government has been making good progress through tough new legislation to crack down on illegal migrants. Through our returns agreement with Albania, 6,000 illegal migrants have been deported, and thanks to a clear and workable deterrence, arrivals from Albania are now down by 94%. The UK has signed further co-operations with France, Albania, Turkey, Bulgaria, Italy, and Georgia. In total, over 22,000 illegal migrants have been deported since new laws kicked in.