Monday, 12 January 2015

Politics: Prime Minister launches election campaign at Dean Clough

The Prime Minister David Cameron was in Halifax to launch the Conservative party’s General Election campaign. Halifax has been marked as a key battleground in this year’s May election.

Speaking to party members at Dean Clough, Mr Cameron unveiled the first election poster for his party’s campaign urging voters to “stay on the road to a stronger economy”.

Mr Cameron said: “It’s so important that we stay on the road to a stronger economy - I want us to stay on the road for more jobs, to stay on the road for lower taxes, to stay on the road for more apprenticeships, to stay on the road for stronger schools, for security and dignity in old age.

“I say we should stay on the road to a stronger economy, not just because the alternatives are so disastrous, I say we should stay on this road because I’m absolutely clear about what the destination should be.”

Mr Cameron said the election was the “most important for a generation” and noted that under the current Government Halifax is in a better place than it was in 2010.

Mr Cameron said: “It has been a journey from a position where we were on the brink of bankruptcy to being one of the strongest and fastest-growing economies in anywhere in the Western world.”

The Prime Minister outlined a series of key election promises including the creation of new apprenticeships for young people, the building of 100,000 new starter homes, and a referendum on our place in Europe.

He said: “We want to deliver more jobs, lower taxes, build those homes and give people dignity and security during retirement - that is what will inform our entire election campaign, and that, I believe, is right for our country.”

Mr Cameron said that over the next Parliament he wants to see the deficit eradicated completely so the country can start to save for the future.

He said: “There is another road you can choose - but it has higher spending, higher borrowing, higher debt and a high burden on future generations.

“It’s a choice between security and chaos - people should know about the choice at the next election.”

Labour MP for Halifax Linda Riordan said: “A second-rate poster launch doesn’t hide five years’ worth of devastating Government cuts to Halifax communities.

“The future of our A&E didn’t even get a mention - that’s how out of touch the Conservatives are.

“The reality is this: the re-election of this Tory-led Government will quite simply be a road to ruin in this town.”

Halifax is a key marginal seat in the next election if the Conservatives are to fulfill their goal of achieving a majority in Parliament.

Government looking into devolving more powers to West Yorkshire

During his visit to Halifax, Prime Minister David Cameron said the Government was looking into ways it can devolve more powers to the West Yorkshire region.

Following the Scottish independence referendum last September, the Government said devolution plans would be completed by Christmas, but only plans for Greater Manchester and Sheffield have been unveiled.

Mr Cameron said: “We are looking at it right now - obviously we’ve seen good devo deals done in Manchester and Sheffield and I’m sure that more can be done.

“It’s part of a pattern and it’s not coming from nowhere - we’ve had a lot of city deals already that have provided a lot of extra resources and extra powers for Britain’s cities and I’m confident that a devo deal can be done.”

Mr Cameron said he wants to see a “northern powerhouse” which will see more investment and control to northern regions.

He said key to this is the redevelopment of the roads, broadband and railways, including the development of high speed rail and the electrification of key local lines.

He said: “The northern powerhouse is becoming a reality because of the investment that we’re putting into not just devolving powers to the great northern cities, but also ensuring that the infrastructure that is needed is also built.

“I’m confident this will happen, but what it needs is a proper negotiation, because we need to work out the best powers to devolve. What money can be found? What more development can be done? What room is there for business to expand?

“The whole point about these agreements is Whitehall emptying out as much of the powers and money as it can.”

Cameron impressed with growth of Covéa

On his visit to Dean Clough, Prime Minister David Cameron saw first-hand the offices of Halifax-based insurers Covéa.

Mr Cameron was impressed with the growth of the company, which has increased its number of employees by 20 per cent over the past year.

He said Covéa and Dean Clough were examples of how our economy has been changing for the better over the past few decades.
He said: “It’s a fascinating story really when you look at the Dean Clough Mills site, because when those jobs originally went back in the early 1980s, a lot of people said ‘where will the new jobs come from?’

“You’ve effectively got more people at work today on this site than there was when this was an enormous carpet factory.

“So the new jobs are there - if you reward enterprise, if you make it easy to establish businesses, if you help businesses to grow, the jobs are created.

“Today in our country there’s a record number of people in work - more than at any time in our history - so the new jobs come if you create an atmosphere where it pays to create and run businesses.

“What we are seeing is a rebalancing of the economy. In the last quarter employment in Yorkshire and Humberside actually grew faster than it did in other regions of the country.

“Yorkshire and Humberside has done remarkably well - there’s been about 119,000 more jobs, a 61,000 fall in employment.”

Covéa Insurance was formed in October 2012 bringing together three insurance firms - MMA Insurance, Gateway Insurance and Halifax-based Provident Insurance.

The company moved to its new offices at Dean Clough in November 2014, bringing together staff from three sites across Halifax.
It currently employs 560 staff in Halifax and is hoping to recruit a further 100 over the next year.

Follow: HxCourierJon

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