Conservative MP for Brentford & Isleworth, Mary Macleod
Mary Macleod MP

We have started 2014 with some pretty wild weather but also with many welcome good news stories, particularly on the economy.

The British Chambers of Commerce forecasts that the economy grew by 0.9 per cent during the last three months of the year, the fastest pace in 2013. A separate report out this week by Grant Thornton reveals that the UK is among the most confident countries for business going into 2014, outstripping both China and the US.

Locally too there is lots to celebrate. The number of people claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance in the constituency has now dropped below 2,000, down by over 20% since I was elected. For young people the situation is looking brighter too with less than 400 unemployed, a fall of 25% since 2010, with a record number starting apprenticeships in the last year.

Crime levels have fallen by 15.7% in the past year, the highest decrease of any London Borough. Our schools also continue to perform above the national average thanks to the efforts of our teachers and the hard work of our pupils. Last year we protected West Middlesex and Charing Cross Hospitals and succeeded in our efforts to get an agreement from the Mayor of London that the Piccadilly line will stop at Turnham Green when it is upgraded – something many people have been campaigning on for decades.

It was, however, disappointing to end the year with the threat of further expansion at Heathrow airport being discussed once more. I will continue to fight to ensure the voices of local residents are heard in this debate – the quality of lives of West Londoners must not be ignored.

Last year in my New Year message I talked about the importance of entrepreneurship to our economy. In my role as the Prime Minister’s Small Business Ambassador for London this year I have enjoyed meeting many fantastic small businesses across the capital. In Hounslow Borough, there has never been a better time for small businesses. Almost 500 new businesses have started up in 2013 and 7,000 business properties in the Borough of Hounslow will benefit from the business rate discount announced by the Chancellor in the Autumn Statement.

In the coming year, small businesses can look forward to the 2% cap on business rates as well as the announcement that 30 minute free parking will be coming to all Pay and Display bays on shopping streets in the Borough.

Looking ahead to 2014, I will continue to focus on building growth and prosperity, fighting further expansion at Heathrow Airport, standing up for local services, encouraging aspiration and strengthening our community.

I have been honoured to serve the people of my constituency in Parliament so far and I look forward to meeting and helping many more of you in the months ahead. I am always keen to hear from local residents, businesses and organisations on any matters that concern you or where you think I may be able to help. Please contact my office at  or call on  020 7219 7023 .

I wish you and your families and friends a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.