Covid-19 has meant that most meetings and events have moved from physical to virtual, and the Conservative Party is no exception. This year we have been holding a virtual conference, accessible to members and the general public in a way that we haven’t see before. We have been setting out how we are transforming our country fundamentally and permanently for the better.
This includes the pledge made by the Prime Minister that we will not be blown off course by the pandemic and will continue to deliver on the priorities of the British people and build back better from coronavirus.
During his speech yesterday, the Prime Minister announced an initial investment of £160 million in ports and factories across the country to manufacture the next generation of turbines and as we become a world leader in low-cost green energy, we believe that in ten years’ time, offshore wind will be powering every home in the country.
This investment will help to create 60,000 jobs in this country and accelerate our progress towards net zero emissions by 2050. It is also fantastic news for Swindon as we are lucky enough to have a number of companies based in our town who are at the forefront of the renewable energy sector.
Too many people today feel excluded from the idea of home ownership which is shown by the fact that there are at least two million people in this country who cannot currently afford a deposit but would be able to meet mortgage payments.
There has also been a withdrawal of high loan-to-value mortgages over recent months, which is preventing households with low and medium levels of equity from buying their first home or moving up the ladder.
This is an issue I am determined to help solve, ensuring that everyone here in Swindon has the opportunity to own their own home.
That is why I welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement that we will work to create ‘Generation Buy’ by exploring options for new long-term fixed rate mortgages that only require a five per cent mortgage, making it easier for young people in particular to realise their dream of owning their own home.
During the conference I also had the opportunity to discuss my plans from the platform as Lord Chancellor & Justice Secretary to make the changes to our criminal justice systems which I believe have been needed for a long time.
There is one word in particular which underpins my plans – that is confidence. I want a higher degree of confidence amongst the public that our justice system will deliver safer streets and better communities by working to prevent people from getting into the system in the first place and to reduce the risk of crime.
The Sentencing White Paper which I published last month is a key part of my plans to restore confidence in our criminal justice system. The policy changes proposed within the White Paper represent the most radical reforms in almost two decades and will help deliver a smarter approach to sentencing.
These reforms will help create a system that is tough enough to keep the wort offenders behind bars for longer which will protect the public, but also one that provides criminals with a viable way out if they want it, and a way of getting support for addictions or mental health problems.
You can read the Sentencing White Paper here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/a-smarter-approach-to-sentencing.