2009 must be the year we build a prosperous future

Contributed by editor on Jan 15, 2009 - 03:00 AM

The Prosser Perspective.... a weekly column from Dover and Deal MP Gwyn

15 January 2009

Last year was a difficult time for people and we all know that
there will be more pain in 2009 but as we start the new year it’s
gratifying that Labour is continuing to take urgent action,
delivering real help now to get families and businesses through the
downturn fairly.

In last week’s column I recalled my own scrapes with unemployment,
mentioned some of the ways the Government was helping people through
the global credit crunch and promised that there was more help in
the pipeline.

This week I’m able to list some of the additional provisions being
put in place to support people through these hard times and spell
out our strategy to get the economy working again.

As well as the immediate support package available to the newly
unemployed we are providing a skills boost to help people who have
been without a job for six months back into work.

This week we have committed to providing another 75,000 training
places and coupled with the extra support announced before Christmas
there will now be an extra 100,000 training places to help
individuals and businesses through the downturn.

We know we can’t always prevent someone losing their job but what we
can do is to help give them the skills they need to find a new job
as soon as possible.

During the Tory years the apprenticeship system all but collapsed
and youth unemployment soared to obscene levels. This Government’s
support allowed more than 180,000 apprenticeships last year and
Ministers have just announced funding to provide an additional
35,000 in the year to come.

This week, Gordon Brown made a regional tour to see for himself how
the Government is providing real help now to families and businesses
and how Britain can build on the investment of the last ten years so
that as we come through the global downturn we are best prepared for
the future.

In the last decade, unprecedented investment has powered a genuine
renaissance in our towns and cities, 3 million jobs and 1 million
small businesses were created and we have built up major strengths
in manufacturing and services.

Our most pressing challenge is dealing with the economic downturn
but we must not be tempted to slow down the pace of investment and
reform to strengthen our country for the future. That’s why the
Government is accelerating its capital spending programmes. Public
investment will be increased by £10 billion over the next two years
to its highest level for a generation and we are injecting £40
billion of capital in to our physical infrastructure - schools,
hospitals and transport networks - but also in the industries of the
future - digital communications and low-carbon technology, the
large-scale infrastructure projects of the 21st century.

So, if 2008 was the year we confronted the global economic downturn,
2009 must be the year that we provide real leadership to invest and build a prosperous future.