It’s good news that the economy is now growing

Mel Gibson as Kurt Mayron, Mark Wahlberg as Dusty Mayron, Will Ferrell as Brad Taggart and John Lithgow as Don Taggart in Daddy's Home 2. Picture: PA Photo/Paramount Pictures/Claire Fogler.

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The economic recession has been tough for both those unemployed and those in work with a squeeze on pay packets.

So it is good news that the economy is now growing again and that the pace of growth is quickening.

Businesses have been helped to create one million jobs by this government. In Portsmouth unemployment has fallen by 25 per cent in the past year and youth unemployment is down by a third.

Nationally, 1.5m people have started apprenticeships since 2010. This is the biggest expansion of apprentices since the 1950s.

The Budget saw the announcement that the point at which people start to pay income tax will rise to £10,500 – a tax cut of £800 a year for the most since 2010 – helping people’s stretched finances.

It will also help people’s wallets that Portsmouth City Council has announced it is freezing this year’s council tax.

It has done this through prudent finances by cutting senior management, securing better value on contracts – rubbish collection now costs more than £1m a year less – and levering in central government money for regeneration and transport.

Weekly bin collections have been continued, Southsea library opened and all children’s centres kept open.

I was also pleased the health scrutiny panel decided the proposal from the regional NHS to remove vascular services from Queen Alexandra Hospital would need to be subject to public consultation.

QA meets all the criteria to do vascular surgery. This is now admitted by the regional NHS. It has averaged more than 43 operations a year in the past five years and 60 more recently – above the level thought to be safe.

Indeed it is the 18th biggest unit in the country. The regional NHS, under questioning from Cllr Michael Andrewes, admitted that its report was wrong to say the NHS contract specification says that a unit must serve a population of more than 800,000.

There is no such requirement and QA’s catchment of 650,000 is more than big enough.

Much credit is due to Cllr Peter Eddis for his expert chairing of the committee to highlight options that could keep vascular surgery in both Portsmouth and Southampton.

I will continue to campaign to keep vascular surgery in the city as I know how important it is.