MANY will look back on 2015 with mixed feelings. On the one hand, the economy is improving, unemployment and interest rates are low, and there is no sign of another recession. On the other hand, we have seen chaos across the Middle East. This has led to unprecedented levels of illegal migration into Europe and a UK Government decision, which I supported, to launch airstrikes targeting so-called Islamic State in Syria.
I understand there are differences of opinion about Britain’s response to the migrant crisis and the spread of ISIS. Whatever your views, I can assure you that I will continue to study these matters thoroughly and visit the Middle East and the refugee camps if suitable opportunities arrive.
Under my chairmanship over the next 12 months, the Welsh Affairs Committee is set to examine issues affecting our daily lives in Wales. Top of the list is what will happen to toll prices on the Severn Crossings when the two bridges return to public ownership in 2018. We are also keen to look at ongoing moves to grant greater powers to the Welsh Government and the future of electricity generation, which could become critical as the UK’s remaining coal-fired power stations are shut down.
But let us not be downhearted. Here in the Monmouth constituency we are lucky to live in a beautiful corner of the world. There is a wonderful sense of community in our towns and villages, with residents actively involved in voluntary organisations, sports clubs, the Women’s Institute, agricultural shows, food festivals and much, much more.
I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.