Express & EchoLast week Labour and the Liberal Democrats voted to block our bill that would have ensured a referendum on Britain's EU membership by the end of 2017. This was disappointing news for all of us, but we are not going to give up in our efforts to turn our referendum commitment into law.

Hugo pays a thank you visit to WESC Foundation learner

On Friday 7 February, the Rt Hon Hugo Swire MP visited the WESC Foundation in Exeter to say a special thank you to one of the learners at the Specialist Centre for Visual Impairment. Jacob Towner, aged 14, was the lucky learner whose Christmas card design was chosen by the Member of Parliament for East Devon to send out his Christmas wishes. 

50p tax rate

Exmouth JournalFinally! An economic policy from the Labour Party! And it’s a tax rise! Last week Ed Balls announced that if Labour comes to power it will reintroduce a top income tax rate of 50p. Of course hammering those with the broadest shoulders would be popular with the electorate but would it be wise?

EU Referendum Bill

Exmouth JournalRecess over and we returned to the thorny issue of Europe; the European Union (Referendum) Bill had its second reading in the House of Lords. It’s fair to say that the Conservative Party believes the EU is heading in a direction that we never signed up to and that it is determined to negotiate a new settlement for Britain in Europe, and to give people their say through an in-out referendum.

MP learns vital life-saving skills

Exmouth JournalBrixington Primary School pupils learned vital lifesaving skills as part of a national campaign to teach children to save lives. The youngsters signed up to the British Heart Foundation's Heartstart course, where they were taught how to administer CPR in an emergency.Using manikins provided by the British Heart Foundation charity, pupils were also taught life support skills such as the recovery position and dealing with choking.

Living Standards

Express & EchoBack from the recess and it feels like we are already in election mode. We are particularly amused when Labour bangs on about how they want to help hardworking people. In reality Labour knew about the squeeze on living standards but did not act.

MP visits care home

Exmouth JournalEast Devon MP Hugo Swire has paid a visit to a Budleigh care home. Mr Swire was invited to the Abbeyfield Society, Shandford, in Station Road, to talk to staff and residents, and see some of the work the home is doing.

Migrant Welfare

Exmouth JournalThis month the Department for Work and Pensions announced jobcentres would begin using a new, more robust test for migrants who want to claim income-related benefits. Many EU migrants come to the UK to make a contribution to our growing economy, but we do not believe migrants should come here simply because of our benefits system.

Autumn Statement & China Visit

Express & EchoA busy start to the month. First off came the Autumn Statement in which growth forecasts were upgraded. Forecasts of employment growth were also revised up from staying flat to rising by 400,000 this year. Moreover there was an improved picture on the deficit which was 11 per cent in 2010. It is now projected to fall to 6.8 per cent this year – lower than the 7.5 per cent forecast in March – and 5.6 per cent in 2014/15

Local Insights

Exmouth JournalI received a quarterly report from Barclays the other day which contains information and trends about consumers and small businesses in the constituency of East Devon. Although the data is primarily based on data from Barclay’s customer base its makes interesting reading.