LETTER: Demand priorities are set out

Lincolnshire is one of the poorest parts of Northern Europe in GDP terms.

Indeed, Lincolnshire currently stands third bottom in the league table of Northern European areas (adjusted for local purchasing power), standing just above Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, and West Wales and The Valleys.

In stark contrast, Inner London currently stands as the richest, most vibrant economic area across Northern Europe. This amazing disparity is neither fair nor defensible.

Moreover, it’s a little known fact that life expectancy in general in Lincolnshire and especially life expectancy disability-free (beyond the age of 65 years) has declined since Conservative Austerity was introduced in 2010.

Prior to 2010, life expectancy across the UK had consistently risen over the previous 90 years at a rate of approximately one additional year of life for every four calendar years. Incidentally, life expectancy continues to rise across the EU.

Given that all our constituency MPs in Lincolnshire are now Conservatives, I’d like to hope they’ll actively work together to secure fairer funding for Lincolnshire across issues like healthcare, social care, council services, per pupil school funding, policing, council house building, etc and hence improve life expectancy, life chances and build a fairer more equitable society locally.

I’ve read the Conservative Manifesto. It sets out lots of spending pledges, but doesn’t specify where this money is going to be spent.

So, my fear is that Boris Johnson, having promised to reverse all the damage done by former Conservative Party austerity (including policies like the Bedroom Tax, underfunded Universal Credit and cutting youth services), will focus his largesse in former Labour-voting areas which “lent him their votes” on December 12, 2019.

This suggests that no money will trickle down to the people in Lincolnshire, as they always vote Conservative and therefore can conveniently be forgotten.

The answer is simple. We just need to ask all the Conservative MPs who now represent Lincolnshire to set out their priorities for investment over the next five years and define what benefits this investment will achieve.

Personally, I’ve led major change initiatives in large public, private and third sector organisations internationally over the past 31 years.

One key thing I’ve learned is that leaders must clarify their priorities and define what measurable benefits they expect to deliver against these priorities, by when and how.

So voters locally need now to demand that our Conservative MPs in Lincolnshire set out their priorities for investment in Lincolnshire and define what measurable improvements they expect to deliver, by when and how.

Ideally, I’d also like them to say by how much they anticipate Lincolnshire will rise up the league table of economically vibrant regions in Northern Europe and by how much this will improve the life expectancy of citizens in Lincolnshire.

Alan Meekings

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