Ben Gummer’s message for 2015

Elections are repeat events but their impact is not repetitive.

Some elections are more important than others. 1945, 1979, 1997 – these were big dates that left a mark. These epoch-forging elections used to be separated by a couple of decades. Yet now we have two on the trot.

However you look at it, 2010 was a crucial year. We were in the middle of the Great Recession, a global financial crash that hit Britain particularly hard.

The electorate’s choice was simple: to continue with the team that oversaw the crisis or to take the tough choices David Cameron and George Osborne promised to get things back under control.

Like most big decisions, it seemed more of a risk at the time than it turned out to be. It has been tough but none of the dire predictions so many have made – both in Westminster and here in Ipswich – have come true.


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Some forecast soaring unemployment and continued recession; instead, we have the fastest growing big developed economy and dramatic falls in unemployment.

In Ipswich, we have never had so few people out of work, both generally and amongst the young, since records began.

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Every penny of the savings the Coalition promised to make have been achieved.

At the same time crime has fallen, schools have improved and although under strain, our NHS is treating a million more people a year than it did back in 2010.

Together, as a nation, we have shown that we can do a hell of a lot more with quite a bit less.

Here in Ipswich we have seen the fruits of living within our means.

A new heart centre, two new high schools, new flood defences to protect our town centre, new rail tracking and bus stations – all of this was promised in years of plenty but only delivered by an MP ready to fight, even when cash was short.

The reason the chancellor could be generous was because of the choice we had made – making tough decisions on public spending, including welfare – to make money available for investing in our future.

Ed Miliband’s Labour wants to reverse the changes we have made to welfare spending and go easy on day-to-day public spending. You simply can’t do that without sacrificing building projects and increasing borrowing at the same time.

My vision for Ipswich is more radical. I want to continue to bear down on day-to-day government spending so that we can invest more in our future.

A plan for a secure and prosperous future or a return to borrowing with an increased risk of bust; sticking with the team that has driven recovery or giving the keys back to the people who crashed the car. This is a very big election, for 2015 will decide which direction our town and our country decides to take.

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