Conference Diary 3: George Osborne/NIA Fringe

I spent a lot of the third day of conference at fringe meetings and briefings rather than in the main conference chamber. I did however hear the speeches from the new transport secretary, by a panel of business leaders, and a very strong speech by Chancellor George Osborne.

I was pleased to hear a number of points in those speeches and others made today which concentrated on keeping down the cost of living for hard working individuals and families -

* Councils given support to freeze council tax for the third year in a row

* planned fuel duty hikes put on hold (not a new announcement but at least shows ministers are still aware of the issue

* a cap on increases in regulated rail fares which reduced fare increases compared to what had originally been proposed

There was also a strong emphasis on supporting business and enterprise, which will be absolutely essential to pulling Britain out of recession and restoring the national finances.

Nuclear energy being vital to the economy of West Cumbria where I live, one of the meetings I attended today was hosted by the Nuclear Industry Association. There was one anti-nuclear protester outside the building today, who did not appear to be getting a lot of support: there were a hundred or so at the NIA meeting and nobody spoke against a new generation of nuclear power as part of the mix for Britain's future energy needs.

In fact most of the debate was about the need to press on faster and demonstrate to investors that there is strong cross-party support for new nuclear build (which the parliamentary representative present assured us there is.)


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