16th Sep, 2019

General Election 2017: meet the candidates - Caroline Spelman

Sarah Mason 18th May, 2017

This General Election will be a defining moment for our country. Britain is about to leave the European Union and in order to get the best possible deal, we need a Government which will work in the interest of local people and establish Britain as the strongest country in Europe.

I am therefore asking you to place your trust in me to represent the Meriden Constituency for a sixth term. At the heart of our nation, Solihull borough is a great place to live with an enviable mix of successful businesses, rural landscapes and tight-knit communities.

It has been an honour and privilege to serve as your MP since 1997. In my 20 years of service, I have been able to help over 20,000 local cases and I want to continue bringing my experience to the challenges we all face.

Recently our region has enjoyed a manufacturing renaissance and a 7.7 per cent economic growth rate – faster than that of China – and it is for that reason I want to do all I can to protect the jobs which so many of you have helped create. The West Midlands region needs a stable environment to continue to benefit from its economic growth. Personally, I am committed to making a success of Brexit, and have had regular meetings with business leaders, senior Government Ministers and MEPs to help protect local jobs and gain a better understanding of what Solihull’s businesses, especially those who export to the EU, would like to see as part of these negotiations.

Having rebuilt the economy following the financial crash of 2008, the Conservative Party remain committed to lower taxes and have lowered taxes for 31 million people across the UK. The personal tax allowance has been increased to £11,500 from £6,475 in 2010 and is set to rise to £12,500 by 2021. Similarly pensioners have seen a significant rise in the basic state pension since 2010. I am proud that the Chancellor has pledged to deliver a fairer tax system and to continue to pursue people who avoid paying their fair share.

I have always aimed to protect the green belt in the Meriden constituency, which is under constant pressure for development. I believe that precious green belt land should only be used in exceptional circumstances, with brownfield sites used first. I will ensure we balance environmental protection with priority housing needs.

Whilst local housing is still much needed, the regeneration of Chelmsley Wood has helped to produce over 1,000 extra affordable homes. This project is now reaching fruition with the rebuilding of schools and local services almost complete. The regeneration also saw new GP practices, for which I helped secure funding. The Conservative Government has spent more money on health each year since 2010 with health and welfare now accounting for nearly half of all our tax spending. We all want to see healthcare improve – especially for the elderly and vulnerable. I have always fought hard to maintain services at our local hospitals and to help constituents with urgent health needs and to that end I helped secure a 24 hour 7 day week urgent care centre at Solihull Hospital, where you can always see a doctor.

The next few years will mark several key changes for our region.

Construction of HS2 will begin in 2018. I was successful in improving the compensation for people directly affected by the HS2 route, in several cases getting the line moved further away from Chelmsley Wood. I don’t pretend the construction won’t be disruptive, but I would use all my experience to mitigate the impact, seek compensation and get the construction traffic moved out of villages.

We have a new West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street, who I have had the pleasure of working alongside, and who is capable, hard-working and committed. As a fellow Conservative, I can ensure we get the best deals for our constituency.

At this election, every vote cast in favour of the Conservatives will serve to build a stronger Britain. With your support, I will continue to fight for local residents both here and in parliament, protecting the Meriden gap, defending local NHS services and working to make sure no one feels left behind in our community.

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