Hastings Observer Column - Friday 2 August

The economy isn’t just numbers on a page, it is a measure of success for everyday life. A better economy means more businesses, higher wages, and better quality of life. When I was elected in 2010 I made it my mission to kickstart our local economy and improve the lives of people in Hastings, Rye, and our surrounding towns. And I am pleased that we have made good progress.

Local business is booming, with 540 additional businesses in our towns since 2010. With each business comes not only a fresh and exciting initiative, but jobs for local people and a boost to our economy. I had the pleasure to recently launch The Wise Group’s new business space at Castleham Industrial Centre and visit a cutting edge tech company which set up shop in Hastings.

Looking at employment, the picture is even better. There are almost 5,000 more 16-24 year olds who have found work in my constituency compared to when Labour were in power. They might claim to be the party for the many, but the facts tell a different story. There are also far more women finding jobs locally, with an increase of 3,600 since 2010.

Behind every person who has a job is a person and family whose life chances and ability to provide for them and their family is enhanced.

Getting into work is important, but it is more important to ensure that work pays well. It should be welcomed that wages are growing at the fastest rate since the financial crash, and that’s after inflation.

Creating a strong local economy means people have more money in their pockets and can enjoy a better quality of life. But I am clear that we need to support those who struggle to find employment. As the local MP, I have visited the local job centre in Hastings to see first-hand the help available to residents to find employment. And just this week I have announced additional support for jobseekers in Rye.

I have also held Jobs Fairs every year I have been an MP, which puts jobseekers in touch with businesses looking to hire local talent. I will keep working with our JobCentres to ensure they have the support they need from the DWP to provide the best possible service for my residents.