Gazette & Herald Column: Economy in good shape so we should be cheerful

I recently received an email from someone who subscribes to my weekly roundup accusing me of being too positive about everything and saying that he found my optimism very annoying.  I made the obvious suggestion that he “unsubscribe” from the distribution list, but it got me thinking about the many reasons we have to be cheerful, so here are some of them.  The economy is in better shape than it has been in years, with debt falling, the public books getting back in balance, unemployment at the lowest level since 1975 (the year I first went to senior school), wages growing faster than inflation, and the gender pay gap the lowest on record.   We are keeping more of our income thanks to the almost doubling of our personal tax allowance since 2010, and also seeing so much more investment to make real improvements in our public services, thanks to our strong economy, including the  biggest capital investment in the NHS in ten years which will deliver our Urgent Care Centre in Devizes.  We also have record numbers of doctors in training, over £1.3 billion extra on schools over the next 2 years (and 1.9 million more children in good and outstanding schools than in 2010) and an extra £15 billion of public investment in building homes.  And of course, while we might disagree sometimes with what we read, we have a high quality free press who have seen significant improvements in their regulation over the past few years to ensure they focus on reporting the truth in a measured way.

Personally, I am always happy at this time of year thanks to the lighter evenings and blooming flowers in the countryside, and this weekend we all have a good excuse for a party with the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.  This event, like so many before it, shows once again how our Royal family are able to bring the country together on special occasions, and while much has changed in the UK since I sat glued to the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, the Royal family, and the Queen in particular, have been sources of stability amongst all the change.  I hope and pray that the wedding is wonderful and wish the couple a lifetime of happiness.   

I know there are some stressed out younger people facing big exams in the next few weeks who can’t enjoy the sunshine yet, and my heartfelt good wishes go out to all of you too.  Good luck!