I hope you enjoyed Christmas and that you are looking forward to 2024. A political review of 2023 makes grim reading. Politics was dominated by the cost of living crisis with higher than anticipated inflation, which still remains too high. Last month alone 170,000 homeowners faced much higher mortgages and at Christmas 130,000 children were in temporary accommodation. And as the recent budget confirmed we face the highest debt and tax burdens since the war.

The Government lost Ministers including the Deputy Prime Minister and the Home Secretary but  at least they kept the same Prime Minister  who they tried to relaunch more times than the small boats he failed to stop. Local election results were bad for the Government beyond expectation and there were record swings against them in by elections throughout 2023. And there are more challenges to come with the Covid Inquiry calling into question how Ministers handled the pandemic and there may be more challenges to family incomes if the Government ends the Household Support Fund, taking £3.2 million out of family budgets in North Tyneside alone. For the Opposition the Labour leader launched his 5 missions to improve public services, reduce waiting lists  and tackle crime as well as move to cleaner cheaper energy.

The Government seems trapped in a kind of political ground hog day with splits, rows and increasingly extreme language. Yet our TV screens and social media brought scenes from Ukraine and Gaza which puts our problems into perspective. I wish you a happy 2024 and as they say things can only get better.

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