May began with the coronation of King Charles III and what a beginning it was!
But alongside the splendour, the coronation celebrated something else, the many people who make a difference in their communities through the volunteer work that they do.
Some of them were in the Abbey as members of the congregation, some at the coronation concert, and all of them were celebrated as part of the Big Help Out on the bank holiday Monday.
So, it was wonderful to be able to join the team at the Cotgrave Community Garden to make flower crowns, eat some coronation-themed cake and celebrate how the Community Garden brings people together.
I also enjoyed my visit to the Scout Group in Gotham where we did a bit more gardening and heard about plans to increase the number of age groups they can provide for.
If you’re interested in volunteering for them, you can find out more here.
East Leake Scouts meanwhile, were hosting an incredible May Day Celebration, complete with Morris dancing and tug of war. Huge thanks to Andy for inviting me along.
This month also saw better news on the economy. We are going through tough economic times, as the COVID pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine have caused inflation to rise and put a strain on people’s finances, but there is hope on the horizon.
This month the International Monetary Fund (IMF) upgraded its economic forecast for the UK, predicting that we will not now face a recession and that our growth will outpace that of France, Germany, Japan and Italy.
The IMF has put its new forecast down to improved confidence, the growth that the child-care reforms and capital allowances announced in the Budget will generate and the effect that the Windsor Framework will have on business investment.
Its Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, has said ‘the UK authorities have demonstrated their ability to overcome hurdles in difficult times’.
Progress was also made on the Prime Minister’s pledge to half inflation by the end of the year as it fell from 10.1% to 8.7%. High inflation is the biggest risk to our economic security and at the root of many of the issues people come to see me about in my surgery, which is why reducing it remains our number one priority.
We also need to show that the UK is open for business.
Most recently, the Government has secured £18 billion of business investment from Japan, which will create jobs and drive innovation in sectors across our economy.
Here in the East Midlands, the sign-off of the East Midlands Freeport will enable us to build a green business partly on the site of the Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station, when it closes in 2024, creating thousands of jobs across our region.
The Government’s plan for growth is already working and we can see it having a real impact.
UK services exports have grown at the fastest rate among the G7 countries. Growth creates jobs and lifts wages. New data published this month shows that, since 2010, full-time workers on the National Living Wage have experienced a 25% increase in real take-home pay.
A skilled and educated workforce is a vital ingredient for a strong economy. This is one of the many reasons why investment in our children is so important and why the Government increased school funding by an extra £2 billion last autumn.
The first payments from this were received by schools this month. Each primary school and secondary school will receive an average amount of £35,000 and £200,000 respectively from this £2 billion investment, with the remainder being used to increase Pupil Premium funding rates, which help support the most disadvantaged students. Our schools’ budget is now the highest on record, £58.8 billion.
Finally, the month started as it began, recognising the great work done by volunteers in Volunteers Week. I wanted to take the opportunity to thank all of the wonderful volunteers that we have across Rushcliffe.
There are too many selfless and genuinely brilliant people to name here, but in May alone I have had the privilege of spending time with volunteers at:
Cotgrave Community Kitchen, Gotham and East Leake Scouts, the Fun Dog Show for Save the Children and the Friary. It has been really inspiring to see all of the wonderful work these volunteers do to support their community in each and every one of these organisations
So, to them, and all of the other volunteers across Rushcliffe, thank you for everything you do! My door is always open so please don’t hesitate to contact me if there is anything that I can help with.