Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Building a stronger, more balanced economy

Today George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer delivered his 2011 Autumn Statement to Parliament.

Responding to the Office of Budget Responsibility's updated Economic and Fiscal Outlook, the Chancellor has set out details of further action the Government will take to protect the UK from global instability and the euro area crisis and build a stronger, more balanced economy for the future.

The Chancellor announced permanent reductions in spending to ensure that the UK meets its fiscal targets, using some of those savings in the short term to fund infrastructure investment to generate long-term growth.

To ensure that every young person not already in work, education or training has support to get into the workplace, the Government is introducing the Youth Contract worth a total of £940million over the Spending Review period that will:

- provide extra support from Jobcentre Plus for unemployed 18-24 year olds, with additional advisor time and a careers interview from the National Careers Service after 3 months on JSA and with weekly (rather than fortnightly) signing from month five

- offer of work experience or a Sector Based Work Academy place for every unemployed 18-24 year old who wants one after 3 months on JSA, before they enter the Work Programme that the Government are providing an additional 250,000 places for

- young people unemployed after 9 months on JSA will transfer to the Work Programme

- funding will be provided for an estimated 160,000 wage incentives of £2,275 to make it easier for private sector employers to take on young people

- at least 40,000 of these incentive payments to be for small firms

- fund a new £50million a year programme to provide support to some of the most disadvantaged 16-17 year olds not in education, employment or training which will provide vital support to help them get into education, an apprenticeship or a job with training

Sunday, 27 November 2011

The CF Revolution has Begun

Ask any member of CF and they will tell you just how hard it is to get a new branch off the ground. Whether it’s organising the meetings, booking the speakers or chasing down new members and encouraging them to turn up, everyone knows that our movement is growing because of the hard work of each and every one of our volunteers. CF members are often the unsung miracle workers of the party, providing a network of campaign support, ideological debate and members to drive campaigns across all levels of the party.

Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Northern Conservative Future Christmas Dinner, the first event of its kind, attracting over 150 attendees from across the UK. It was truly inspiring speaking to activists who have recently created or transformed their branches and driven up their membership numbers, working in a collaborative effort. Collectively, the efforts of these members has transformed the Northern regions into one of the Party’s most slick and well oiled campaign machines, spreading the Conservative message to supporters and swing voters alike.

Watching Philip Smith, Chairman of the Northern Partnership, the dozens of branch Chairman and volunteers surrounding him on Saturday night, it was clear that something truly special is happening with CF in the North. Our members are confident, up for the challenge, leading by example and ready to grow and expand their powerbase, spurred on by the fact they have a strong team leading the way and helping them get on.

After years of the CF pendulum swinging in favour of the south, I have no hesitation in saying that CF’s Northern revolution has begun, and with elections just around the corner we could well see a strong representation from areas outside of the London bubble when the votes are counted. The room was jam packed with talented individuals- a wealth of opportunity awaiting them and it’s time we recognised this drive and elevated our fine Northern candidates onto the national stage.

Branches across every corner of the UK should take note of Northern CF’s achievements and seek to replicate them wherever possible. It only takes one or two volunteers before the snowball effect kicks in and membership numbers start to rise. For CF the Northern revolution will deliver a new generation of talent onto our National team, but this isn’t the end of the story, it’s just the beginning.

Pictures coming soon….

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Boris: I love Croydon

I’m pleased to announce that the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson has pledged to give £23 million pounds to Croydon in a bid to push regeneration and return our town to its “former glory”.

The funding will help to regenerate areas such as Wellesley Road, Bedford
Park Road, Lansdowne Road, George Street and Fairfield Halls. Boris spoke passionately and urged investors to “help make Croydon great again.”

This is welcome news for Croydon as we need investment in our town. Our Council Leader Cllr Mike Fisher agrees stating: "Croydon is committed to investing in major regeneration. The funding from the Mayor of London will help us realise many of our ambitions. Coming so soon after the Westfield announcement this shows there is a real buzz about Croydon right now."

To read more in the Croydon Advertiser click here 

To read more in the Croydon Guardian click here
Boris holding his t-shirt when he
visited Croydon

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Reflections on Conservative Future

With Ben Howlett, Lord Feldman & David Cameron discussing
the past year of CF's achievements at conference
As December’s approaching I’ve been reflecting over the last year as my time on the National Executive for Conservative Future is coming to an end. It’s been an incredibly exciting 12 months as Deputy Chairman, Membership, meeting activists and pushing through changes that our organisation so badly needs. After late nights, early starts, many working weekends, I am proud to say that CF is now a more professional, efficient and respected movement, fit to enable a new generation of bright stars as they climb the political ladder.

Last summer, I ran for the position of membership because I fundamentally believe that each and every volunteer makes CF great. I immediately began restructuring the resources available for new and existing members to make processes simpler and more effective.

With Boris and Syed Kamall MEP at a NO2AV boot camp

Over the last year, in terms of training, we’ve held CF’s first ever one day conference and several candidates training workshops at CCHQ to get our activists media savvy and ready for the political spotlight. We’ve pooled all membership data from local branches and created a centralised CF database, in order to make communication easier with our members which culminated with the Prime Minister thanking all CF Chairmen for their efforts with this huge task.  Most importantly, as promised, you will be able to vote online in this year’s elections, a remarkable step forward.

But CF isn’t always about policies and procedures – the huge number of candidates from the Midlands and the North standing in the elections proves beyond doubt that CF is a truly national organisation, bursting the traditional London bubble to which it is traditionally associated. We’ve also seen a huge rise in the number of women candidates in the running, a sure sign that CF is a vibrant, forward looking organisation and a perfect starting platform for young people in politics.

With Serene, Sarah & Lewis outside No.10
after a Project Umubano reception

Like all areas of politics, youth elections can be a bumpy ride, so there will always be one or two bad eggs around, relishing the opportunity for smears and dirty politics. My advice is simple; keep smiling and carry on. Be happy in yourself, and don’t for one second let them make you as unhappy as they are. And always remember, these character traits will lead to their own undoing, whether that be now or in the future, it’s only a matter of time.  

Completing a gardening project

When people ask me why I have decided not to stand again, the answer is simple. After being involved with CF for over 13 years I believe that it’s time for a new generation of activists to step up to the mark, and take our organisation forward to even greater achievements. The last 12 months working with Ben, Serene, James and Peter has been an absolute privilege, and their hard work and commitment proves what can be achieved when you have a stable, professional team working with members to take CF forward. I have had a brilliant time this year and my proudest moment was launching the Birch Memorial School Appeal after teaching 70 street children in Sierra Leone.

Good luck to each and every candidate standing this year, the future of our organisation will be in your hands soon, and I know you’ll make us proud.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Celebrate Christmas with CF

We are really pleased to announce that we are holding our annual Conservative Future Christmas Party on Saturday 3rd December- open to all members,

Our guest speaker is James Brokenshire MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Home Office and we have managed to negotiate 20% off all food and drink ordered in advance here

Tickets are selling fast so make sure that you get yours here

Date: Saturday 3rd December
Time: 7-11pm
Location: Revolution London (Soho), 2 St Annes Court, London

Friday, 4 November 2011

Bill Gates at CFID

On Wednesday I was very lucky to attend the inaugural event of the newly launched organisation, Conservative Friends of International Development (CFID). Led by Baroness Jenkins, CFID launched at party conference and it was great to see this event so well attended.

Bill Gates speaking to us all about his foundation
They managed to secure Bill Gates as the guest speaker and it was fascinating to hear the excellent and often ground-breaking work that he does to alleviate poverty through his foundation especially combatting polio and malaria. 

During Andrew Mitchell’s vote of thanks he said of Bill: ““He has already changed the world once and he’s on course to change it again”.

I am looking forward to their next event and I urge you all to sign up and get involved with CFID 

On a different note we still collecting school items for the Birch Memorial School Appeal and please do email me at: clare.hilley@conservativefuture.com if you can donate something.

Bill Gates speaking with Baroness Jenkins to his left and Andrew Mitchell to his right

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Come and support us with our Poppy Appeal

For those of you that haven’t noticed yet, it’s that time of year again where we wear a poppy to remember those who gave their lives in both world wars and since then in other conflicts around the world.

The British Legion co-ordinates this across the UK and for the last decade my family and myself have been knocking on doors in Purley in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday.

You can help us by signing up to Cities of London and Westminster CF Branch’s campaign at Charing Cross station between today and November 11th here 

You can also support the appeal by adding the poppy to your facebook profile here 

Last year's powerful poster that launched the 2010 Poppy Appeal