We must act now or the nation’s future is at risk

Rick Jackson believes Big Ben's bongs should not be silenced

RICK JACKSON: Our las total eclipse was typically British – cloudy

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We know as a country that we have to live within our means.

I know this presents us with difficult decisions. But they’re the same decisions that local businesses across our area had to make during the recession.

How do you save costs whilst continuing to do the things that really count? Can we reduce our overheads without reducing the quality of service? By making these tough decisions, local businesses were able to withstand the recession.

But today, it’s the turn of government-run services to make the same tough decisions.

It isn’t easy. None of us comes into government to cut jobs and services, but the mess we inherited from the Labour government means that we need to do this if we are to secure our economic growth.

We do see locally the difficult decisions. In our schools, headteachers are cutting back on discretionary spending to ensure that every penny is spent on educating our children.

The redundancies announced by the navy last week are part of this and I know that they’ll affect families in our area.

For too long we put off decisions about the type of navy we needed in the 21st century. But our bills catch up with us and we can’t pretend that they aren’t there and hope if we simply close our eyes they’ll disappear. Life isn’t like this, whether you’re juggling the nation’s finance or your family’s.

When I look elsewhere in Europe I see that we’re borrowing the same amount as Portugal. But rather than our interest rate being about 10 per cent as it is there, we’re borrowing at much lower rates. We can do this because we’ve made the tough decision to live within our means after years of maxing out on the nation’s credit card.

Whilst we could try to put it off, it isn’t fair to leave our children and grandchildren with the bill for our free-spending habits. Yes there’ll be more difficult decisions to go alongside those in the navy, but if we don’t act now we’ll put our nation’s future at risk.