View from the House: Wes Streeting, MP for Ilford North

PUBLISHED: 10:01 13 February 2017 | UPDATED: 10:01 13 February 2017

Vickie Flores/Archant

Government won’t make economy a priority in negotiations

As a member of the House of Commons treasury committee, I spend a great deal of time looking at our economy and thinking about how government policies will impact on the jobs and livelihoods of the people I represent.

We have a lot going for us. We’re the world’s fifth largest economy. We have 12 of the world’s top 100 universities. We’re third in the global innovation index.

Global companies in leading industries choose to base their headquarters here.

But there are some real challenges. Poverty is on the rise. Economic growth is fuelled by a rise in unsustainable household debt. Productivity remains poor. A lot of people locally are feeling a squeeze on living standards.

Given how much our economy has relied on trade with the European Union, we’ve got a lot riding on Brexit negotiations. So my jaw dropped when I heard our former chancellor George Osborne tell the House of Commons last week that the government has chosen “not to make the economy the priority in this negotiation”.

Think on that for a moment.

Every single sector of our economy will be affected by the deal that our prime minister does or doesn’t strike. Most people want us to maintain a strong trading relationship with the EU. Jobs are riding on this.

And the government has chosen “not to make the economy the priority”. As far as I am concerned, any government that doesn’t make the economy the priority doesn’t deserve the trust of the people.

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