5 September 2022
New Prime Minister

By the time this column hits the news-stands, Liz Truss will be our new Prime Minister and her new government will be in place.

As many media commentators have pointed out, rarely in our recent history has an incoming Prime Minister been faced with such a set of domestic and foreign policy challenges.

These include the current spike in inflation, energy prices and the cost of living; the need to continue to invest in public services and especially the NHS, the lingering social and economic after-effects of the pandemic; and the importance of support for Ukraine as it fights valiantly to combat Russian aggression. 

And, as I have recently argued in a national newspaper, there is just the sheer difficulty of getting things done, whether it's a new passport or a driving licence, or just getting a fair deal on broadband, bank charges, travel tickets or a dozen other things.

We are already feeling some of the impacts of these challenges in Herefordshire. But even amid all this I think it is essential to take a measured view, for there is so much good happening locally as well.

Let me mention three recent things in particular.

The first is the continued progress of our path-breaking university project, NMITE. Their new building is forging ahead at Eign Gate in the city, and last week I visited their new timber and advanced manufacturing centres next to the Shell Store at Rotherwas.

Reader, these are stunning buildings and a massive new asset for the community. Whether you’re a local business, a potential partner for the university or an interested student, they are very much worth a visit.

Secondly, this is the week of H-Art, which is always a special time. I have had the chance to see several shows already, including exhibits at the Herefordshire College of Arts, and they are stunning. More details on:  https://www.h-art.org.uk

And finally, after 70 years we have a new brewery opening in Ross on Wye!  I am keenly looking forward to my first pint at the new Motley Hog Brewery.

Now that’s a thought perfectly calculated to bring sunlight and joy to a clouded outlook. Combine it with the amazing recent independent food festival in Hereford, and dozens of other fabulous fetes, fairs and festivals over the summer, and we really have something to be proud of. Bravo!

Published in the Hereford Times