Well, the Summer is here and we’re finally able to return to many of things we love so much. It was wonderful to see the return of the much-missed Paulsgrove and Wymering Carnival this year. Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make it such a success. The terrible years of Covid are behind us and we’re free again to enjoy our summer sporting and social events.
We’ve recently celebrated the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee with street parties and events. We’ve also had the Isle of Wight Festival and Glastonbury. Our long summer twilights are stretching out again. Outside the pubs, the crowds spill out onto the pavements again to remind us of what binds us all together.
Typical of a British Summer though, there are dark clouds. Covid has left us with a legacy of inflation. How did this happen? Because during the crisis, governments around the world decided to inject funds into their economies to offset the worst affects of the pandemic. The alternative would’ve been unthinkable- not to invest in a vaccine, not to stand up extra hospital capacity and supplies of ventilators and PPE. Add to this, the generous furlough subsidies that were made available and it’s not difficult to work out why we have inflation. It’s not just people that can get Long Covid, the economy can do as well.
This is the primary cause of our problems, but it’s not been helped by the war in Ukraine because firstly, it supplies the world with such a large proportion of its wheat and cooking oils. Secondly, because the punishments applied to Russia have taken a large proportion of the world’s oil off the market. So we feel the pain in two areas food and energy costs. These then combine to affect everything else.
I must stress that helping our Ukrainian friends is still the right thing to do. We will find ways to deal with the impact of the war. In Portsmouth, we’ve always been connected internationally, we know the world can affect us. It’s been the source of so much of our prosperity over the years. We have to take the rough with the smooth.
While we battled through the pandemic, but we have new battles now. What I can assure you of though is that I will fight alongside you every inch of the way. When we stand together as a community, we can achieve anything. We’ve fought many battles and won them together. We stopped Aquind in its tracks. We saved our football club and our lido. We’ve got new schools and flood defences built, despite lack of public funds.
My focus is twofold- get our economy flying and helping you to live well. Both require us to control public spending, reduce taxation and the costs of living. I know you are feeling the strain via household bills and at the petrol pump. I wanted to be honest that things will be tough as we approach the end of the year. It will be a difficult time, but we will come through it and I will do everything I can to make it easier.
We found the resources and innovation to fight Covid. We must find the resources and innovation to fight its legacy too. That is what I will work and campaign for.