Greg Hands MP one year in the Cabinet – article for the Kensington, Chelsea & Fulham Conservatives’ website

It is now a little over a year since I was re-elected as Member of Parliament for Chelsea & Fulham, and appointed by David Cameron to the Cabinet, as Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
 
It is an honour and a privilege to represent Chelsea and Fulham in the House of Commons, and to serve our first majority, Conservative Government since 1997.
 
Before the General Election, in the Coalition Government, I had been Deputy Chief Whip. The Chief Secretary to the Treasury is effectively number two in the Treasury, after the Chancellor of the Exchequer, notwithstanding the fact that the Prime Minister himself is the First Lord of the Treasury!
 
Much of the credit for our Conservative Government must go to the hard-working activist base in Chelsea & Fulham and Kensington, in our local Conservative association. Not just for winning here locally, but for providing the human and financial resources to compete in the marginal seats nearby which circle us – like Hammersmith, Battersea, Westminster North, Brentford & Isleworth, Ealing Central & Acton and Tooting.
 
My responsibilities as Chief Secretary to the Treasury cover public expenditure and include: spending reviews and strategic planning; in-year spending control; public sector pay and pensions; Annually Managed Expenditure (AME) and welfare reform; efficiency and value for money in public service; procurement; capital investment; infrastructure deals; and Treasury interest in devolution to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
 
When the Prime Minister appointed me Chief Secretary, I knew that I was going to have a serious job to do. I realised that we were about half way there in reducing the deficit from 10.8% of GDP in 2010 to 4.8% in 2015, and that the Chancellor and I had a big task ahead of us in deciding the Autumn Statement. The deficit has already come down further, and we are on course to build a small, but significant, budget surplus by the year 2019.
 
Eighteen years after I was first elected as a local councillor, and eleven years after I was first elected MP, I continue campaigning on local issues. Over the past year alone, I have continued representing local residents’ concerns on matters including Crossrail 2; the proposed curtailment of the 424 bus route; the Thames Tideway Tunnel and the Counters Creek storm relief sewer; National Grid’s works on the King’s Road; the Fulham Boys School’s move to a permanent site; Chelsea FC’s proposed redevelopment of Stamford Bridge Stadium; and the refurbishment of Sloane Square Underground Station.
 
I have held my regular constituency surgeries at Fulham Library, and am now also holding surgeries at both Metro Bank branches in Chelsea & Fulham, and at Peter Jones, Sloane Square. I have represented a great variety of constituents’ concerns over the past year, including housing issues, school places, local transport issues, and access to medical care.
 
I am proud to be the first MP to attend Cabinet whilst representing Chelsea since Sir Samuel Hoare in 1940, and the first to do so representing Fulham since Labour’s Michael Stewart in 1970. My position at the Cabinet table allows both Chelsea & Fulham to have a strong voice at the heart of central Government. These are exciting times to be a member of Her Majesty’s Government, and to serve the good people of Chelsea and Fulham.