16 May 2017
    Mel Stride

    Labour have just launched their manifesto - eye watering tax rises and buckets full of additional spending. How on earth is putting up business taxes from 19% to 26% going to help the economy grow, generate money for our public services and allow us to eliminate the deficit? Conservative manifesto out later this week. I will be looking not just at the headline announcements but also the detail especially around rail investment. For years I have worked to get additional rail services for Okehampton and Crediton into Exeter. I walked the tracks out to Meldon Quarry with Patrick McLoughlin when he was Transport Secretary, hosted Claire Perry when she was Rail Minister in Okey Town Hall, arranged for current Rail Minister Paul Maynard to greet myself and 500 local people who took the first direct train from Okey to Paddington when the train arrived in London - a great meeting followed - and have now managed to persuade the current Sec of State Chris Grayling to agree to have his department investigate with GWR implementing a trial service along this route. If we can get this trial - we can prove the value and need for the service. So the first page I will turn to when I get our manifesto will be to look at the transport section - something around revitalising branch lines and rail investment please!