The ever changing world of politics

It has been an incredible few years politically in the UK.

Saturday, 13th January 2018, 7:13 am
General Election 2017. Conservative's Alec Shelbrooke regains his Elmet and Rothwell constituency at Leeds Town Hall. 8th June 2017. Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe

In 2014 there was a referendum on Scottish independence, in 2015 there was a General Election, in 2016 the UK voted to leave the European Union (EU) and in 2017 there was another General Election.

As we look overseas, we have seen the election of an American President with no previous political experience, across Europe we see the rise of the far right, and in Germany we see the ‘German Power House of Europe’ without a functioning government which may not be resolved until spring at the earliest.

And yet at home, 2018 will be a year where stability will move the country onto a new agenda.

The first phase of the EU negotiations was agreed in December and has allowed the government to move onto the second phase of the negotiations - trade talks.

The EU withdrawal bill will shortly be sent to the Lords and this bill ensures our laws can function when we leave by the end of March 2019.

The EU has set the end date for the transition period as December 31. 2020 and therefore many of the issues around the withdrawal and transition to a new relationship will have been dealt with by then.

We now move onto trade talks. These talks are vital to ensure we can negotiate a trade deal that will benefit both businesses and economies in the UK and EU.

This will also allow Britain to sound out new trade deals across the world – although trade deals can only be signed once we have officially left the EU.

Fundamentally, the above is about ensuring that the economy continues to grow and accelerate its growth now that we have settled the constitutional political issues.

As the Prime Minister highlighted during the general election, Britain is facing a great number of domestic challenges, especially in helping the younger generations move their lives forward.

A strong economy underpins the ability of any government to achieve these objectives and that is why it is important we negotiate good trade deals.

However, the structure of how our country works needs to be addressed for use to successfully enter into the next phase of the 21st century.

How, where, and in what model we build the homes is key to ensure that they are affordable and that we supply a constant flow to cope with demand for young people.

Education will also be a hot topic in 2018. How we can free up the £4 billion of school funding being held back in surpluses by councils to overcome the demand of the £200 million of investment called for in our schools. This will be vital to continue the record number of children in outstanding schools and ensure we continue to raise the stands of education.

And we will need to regularly assess how we support health and social care in our country that is dealing with thousands more people every week than ever before as we cope with the demands of a rising and ageing population.

We must ensure that we maintain the status and standards of the best health care system in the world.

Being the best is not good enough when the demands keep growing. Building a strong economy though vital new trade deals and tackling our challenges head on will be the foundation of the work in 2018 that continues to makes Britain a global leader.

I wish everyone a happy and peaceful New Year.