Kris Hopkins's Christmas and New Year message: 'It all bodes well for year ahead'

Ilkley Gazette: Kris Hopkins's Christmas and New Year message: 'It all bodes well for year ahead' Kris Hopkins's Christmas and New Year message: 'It all bodes well for year ahead'

2013 will be remembered as the year when growth returned to the local and national economy.

Since 2010, the Government has cut Labour’s deficit by a third, helped to create more than 1.6 million private sector jobs and pursued the rightful aim of making the UK one of the most competitive countries in Europe to do business.

Inflation is also falling, giving people more money in their pockets, and sustained increases in economic output are predicted in the months and years ahead.

Such a positive backdrop has given employers the necessary confidence to recruit and plan for the future and, whilst I am delighted that local unemployment levels continue to go down, I am particularly pleased to see real progress being made in reducing the numbers of young people not in education, employment and training. Government initiatives such as wiping out Employers’ National Insurance Contributions for young people under the age of 21 should certainly help to assist further.

All of this bodes well for the year ahead when – together with a continuing focus on the economy – health and education will remain at the top of my personal agenda.

2014 will, of course, see the Tour de France come to Ilkley. Whilst the sight of the Olympic Torch was both magnificent and historic, the arrival of the world’s largest sporting circus will offer unparalleled opportunities for the town and surrounding areas.

As well as the chance to bring different communities together and encourage local residents to get active, the Tour should deliver very significant economic benefits, through increased tourism and other related spend, and exposure to a massive global television audience.

However, before we say farewell to 2013, I take great pleasure in wishing all readers a very Merry Christmas and healthy, happy, prosperous and safe New Year.

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