Conservative Party Conference gives the opportunity for senior political figures to speak more freely about matters they care about and Rishi’s speech last Wednesday was a welcome insight into what drives him and where his priorities sit. Obviously, I’m biased but nothing he said I’d fundamentally disagree with. It’s worth catching up on. https://www.facebook.com/rishisunak/posts/pfbid0vRQuJKE2h9kkdGteKm7PYvo…
Rishi’s theme was his belief that we need to change the way we do politics ‘for the long-term, not just to win the General Election’ stating that ‘the job of Government is to Lead, to Act, Putting the Country First’. This, I wholeheartedly agree with and I’m often frustrated by how long it takes to put something right, examples of this would be access to good housing or access to the latest medical treatment or device.
Education came out as the PM’s top priority and, how well a child develops and grows as a person should not predestined by where he or she grew up if the child is given good access to education and the opportunity to reach their potential. Rishi reaffirmed the value of apprenticeships, committed to increasing technological education, is scrapping university degrees that don’t impact life-chances and introducing an Advanced British Standard qualification. He also announced £30,000 tax-free to attract teachers into specialist subjects in schools and colleges. The Prime Minister exposed the fact that this Government is the first since the formation of the NHS to plan the NHS workforce so that there are enough clinicians working across the whole of the NHS. An example of the need for this is good hospitals such as West Cornwall Hospital restricted on NHS services due to a shortage of skilled staff in a particular area. The result: delays in treatment and the need to travel to RCHT Treliske for routine treatment. The other focus for the NHS was the fact that 4 out of 5 smokers start in their teens leading to the highest level of UK cancer deaths and a £17bn bill to the NHS each year. Each year the age you can smoke legally will go up by a year.
Illegal immigration is a toxic debate and the dangers presented by people travelling across the channel orchestrated by criminal gangs are lost in the debate. The PM was right to state that it is for Parliament, Government and Britain to determine who gets asylum in the UK, not criminal gangs.
A speech made before conference and touched on by Rishi, relates to how the UK navigates the road to achieve net zero emissions. In other words, we don’t add more harmful emissions than we can absorb. This is a controversial issue but Rishi made clear that his approach focused on taking the financial burden off low income families and looking to R&D and industry to deliver better, more affordable solutions to home heating and efficiency and clean transport for example. I have drafted a short online survey on this specific issue which you can find here on my website.