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Steve Baker, MP: New Year's message
4:40pm Tuesday 1st January 2013 in News
2012 was an extraordinary year for Great Britain.
Up and down the country, we came together in a spontaneous outpouring of neighbourliness and community spirit to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of our beloved Queen with passion, affection and good humour.
Her reign is now the second longest in history and, despite the ups and downs, it has seen an unparalleled growth in the health, wealth and happiness of the British people.
If we ever needed a reminder of how precious the British way of life is, it was to look around at strangers drinking and singing together without a tank parade or any other feeble bombast of here-today-gone-tomorrow republics in sight.
That also would make any year exceptional.
But we also held one of the best – if not the best – Olympic and Paralympic Games in modern history.
Our construction and service sectors, assisted by an army of volunteers and the actual Army too, delivered an Olympic experience of virtually flawless excellence that has set a new standard for the future.
And on top of all that, our sportsmen and women achieved 29 gold, 17 silver and 19 bronze medals, Britain’s best haul in more than a hundred years when the competition was nothing like as tough or as numerous.
Although the economy has still not recovered from the debt crisis, the private sector has created around 1,000,000 new jobs since the Coalition came to office and there are 500,000 more people in work than last Christmas. 24,000,000 hard working people have had their income taxes cut, the fuel duty rise has been cancelled and Council Tax has been frozen for the third year in a row.
Under David Cameron, someone on the minimum wage has had their income tax bill halved and the deficit has still been cut by a quarter.
Tragically, we still lose soldiers in Afghanistan – and save a special thought for their families this Christmas – but the Army’s deployment there continues to be reduced. It will be halved by the end of next year.
2013 cannot possibly repeat the national rejoicing and sporting triumph that were brought us by the Jubilee and the Olympics, but let us all hope and work for a year in which prosperity begins to return.
In future years of peace and plenty, when we look back upon these tough times, we should all be able to say we played our part in bringing Great Britain through.