Things I would like to see this year
At the start of 2013, many people will turn their minds to New Year’s resolutions and make themselves promises that in reality they’re unlikely to keep, whether it’s a fitness regime or learning a foreign language or other such aspirations.
As I ’m approaching my ninth year as the city’s Member of Parliament and again seeking my party’s nomination for the 2015 General Election later this year, I would like to offer my own hopes and ambitions for Peterborough in the coming year.
1. More jobs and training opportunities for young people. We need to get people off welfare into meaningful, sustainable and long term work – and that means boosting apprenticeships, a new University Training College based at the Regional College andmorenew employers taking advantage of Peterborough’s keystrategic location to bring high skilled and high paid jobs to our area.
2. We need to i gnore municipal vanity projects like the risky and speculative energy park which threatens to blight the lives and environment of my constituents in Newborough and focus on the basics – building more quality homes for working people on modest incomes and entrepreneursanddrivingupstandards in ourschools. Nothingelsewill drive talented and ambitious folk to the city. The opening of the new City of Peterborough Academy in Eastfield will be an important milestone in that endeavour in September this year.
3. The renaissance of the city centre which began under Cllr John Peach with the demolition of the Corn Exchange and continued by Cllr Cereste must continue, with the CowgateandBridgeStreetregeneration and this will be evidenced by the opening of the new Carluccio’s restaurant this month.
4. A political will to tackle problem drinking and greedy slumlandlordsinpocketsofthe city. Although the city council have been woefully slow, a new selective l icensing scheme and cumulative impact policy put into practice in Millfield and New England, may very well bear fruit over the next 12 months.
5. A realistic level of council tax and protection of key services. Whilst the city council spends almost £ 60,000 on non- statutory full time trades union officials and thousands more on non- statutory translation and interpreters, they surely still have sufficient slack tocut, inordertokeepthecoun- cil tax low?
6. Let’s carry on the fight againstcrime, ledbythecity’s first rate police commander, Supt Dan Vajzovic – we’re making great progress driving down crime and driving out criminals.
7. A long term financially sustainable solution ( via the Treasury) to the budgetproblemsatPeterborough City Hospital – mostly caused by the disastrous PFI scheme bequeathed by the last Labour Government.
8. It was forty years on Tuesday since we joined the European Union ( then the Common Market). It’s time we had a referendum on our continued membership and let thepeople’svoicebeheard loud and clear.
In the meantime, do have ahappy, healthyandprosperous 2013.