Five priorities for 2021 now Brexit is done – Robert Goodwill

THIS has been an historically difficult year for us all. It’s hard to believe that it is only 12 months ago that we were allowing ourselves a brief period of celebration after Boris Johnson’s stunning election victory.

Yorkshire rejected Jeremy Corbyn’s brand of Islington Marxism as traditional working-class communities sent a clear message that they were sick and tired of being taken for granted.

Moreover, their patriotism and support for our Armed Forces was despised by Labour. The final straw 
was Brexit. Many Labour supporters here had voted to leave the European Union, but they had seen how, for example, Shadow Brexit Secretary, Sir Keir Starmer had conspired with Conservatives like Dominic Grieve to frustrate the Brexit process every step of the way.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

People felt they were being 
patronised and deemed too stupid to understand what they voted for in the referendum.

What will 2021 mean for resorts like Scarborough?What will 2021 mean for resorts like Scarborough?
What will 2021 mean for resorts like Scarborough?

Conservatives like me, and my new colleagues in South and West Yorkshire, were looking forward to “Getting Brexit Done” and then moving on to delivering our ambitious manifesto. We never anticipated that we would have to “Get Covid Done” first!

So, what are our priorities now?

Firstly, we must win the battle with the pandemic. Vaccination is under way in Scarborough and Whitby and around the region.

The most vulnerable are being prioritised along with health and 
care workers and, as more and more people become immune, life will 
return to something approaching normality.

Robert Goodwill has been MP for Scarborough and Whitby since 2005 and is a former Agriculture Minister.Robert Goodwill has been MP for Scarborough and Whitby since 2005 and is a former Agriculture Minister.
Robert Goodwill has been MP for Scarborough and Whitby since 2005 and is a former Agriculture Minister.
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Many businesses in sectors like hospitality have had a tough time and they will continue to need help and the nation’s battered finances will have to be fixed at some point too.

Secondly, we need to make a success of Brexit. Independence provides many global opportunities, but we also need 
to mend some bridges with our EU friends and neighbours after what 
has been a bruising process for all concerned.

The economy needs to be rebalanced to give the North its fair share of investment. Infrastructure is key with road and rail improvements. Ministers have recognised that the A64 is literally 
a roadblock to unlocking investment 
on the coast and ending the misery of 
our West Riding tourists at the 
notorious Hopgrove junction. More Government jobs need to be relocated here too.

Outside the Common Agricultural Policy there are challenges and opportunities. Our Environmental Land Management scheme will continue to support farmers, but they will need to adapt to deliver environmental “public goods”.

Will the good times return to Scarborough and the Yorkshire coast in 2021?Will the good times return to Scarborough and the Yorkshire coast in 2021?
Will the good times return to Scarborough and the Yorkshire coast in 2021?
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

This isn’t only about planting trees and hedges or extending public access, but in areas like the Moors and Dales it should be about conserving what is there already and supporting the communities that are integral to our most precious open spaces.

Finally, we need to grasp the nettle of how we fund our care for the 
elderly. This is a political can that has been kicked down the road for far too long.

The current system is a lottery. If 
you save hard all your life, build up a pension pot or pay down a mortgage and you have to go into a care home then your house may have to be sold and you will have to pay for everything until only £23,250 remains. If you die at home, then the generous inheritance tax allowance means most of your estate can be left to your children.

If, however, for whatever reason, 
you have no assets then the taxpayer 
will step in and fund your care. This 
is quite simply not fair on people who have tried to do the right thing all their lives.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In the 2017 election, Theresa May did propose a solution to this problem which had many commendable aspects but when Labour unfairly called it the “dementia tax” panic ensued and it was quickly dumped.

When people had the details explained to them, however, and how the current system operates they understood that this was a genuine attempt to address this unfairness.

Let’s hope 2021 is a far better year than 2020 – it would be hard to think how it could be worse. Happy New Year to you all.

Robert Goodwill has been MP for 
Scarborough and Whitby since 2005 and is a former Agriculture Minister.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Support The Yorkshire Post and become a subscriber today. Your subscription will help us to continue to bring quality news to the people of Yorkshire. In return, you’ll see fewer ads on site, get free access to our app and receive exclusive members-only offers. Click here to subscribe.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.