2012 was the year of the Olympics. In Sefton we had visits from the Olympic and Paralympic torches and we had our own medallists at the games.
All of the sporting achievements were the result of much hard work by the athletes and their support teams. But all of this was only possible because of the money put into sport in this country both by the lottery and by the government over many, many years. I was pleased to see that more money is to be invested in sport in the coming years to improve on the number of Olympic and Paralympic medals at Rio in 2016.
As a country we need similar investment for 2013 in jobs and growth, in our NHS and in our other public services.
David Cameron promised to cut the deficit not the NHS when he became Prime Minister in May 2010. But the reality is he has cut the NHS and we still have a deficit. In fact, the level of national debt is far higher than the government promised when it came to power.
The next election will be in 2015, so until then we will continue with the coalition government.
I will be pressing them to learn from the success of our sports men and women. To learn that cutting does not work. That closing libraries and increasing waiting lists at A&E doesn’t work. That we need to invest in our young people and help them find jobs, not see the number of long term unemployed increase. And that having a food bank in Crosby is a sign of how desperate many people have become.
The level of debt is going up as it becomes harder and harder for the majority of people in our country. The government is borrowing more money to pay for failure. That money would be better invested in young people to find jobs, in the police, in libraries and in our health service instead of in paying people to be out of work.
If more people were in work and if more businesses were growing, then more would be collected in taxes and then we would be able to pay off the debt.
Can I take this opportunity to wish you all a happy and prosperous new year.
The success of 2012 in sport shows what this country can achieve. In 2013, I hope that the government applies the lessons of investing for success from sport and applies them to the rest of our society.