So the year has begun with the political temperature starting to rise, with the general election less than six months away.
I have always believed to quote Bill Clinton 'it's the economy stupid' that decides elections.
So, in this first week of the new year, we have seen houses prices rising by 5.9%, we have seen a slight fall in those claiming job seeker allowance, unemployment has not risen as fast and as high as expected. Confidence in the stock market has returned with a 20% increase in the last year. Manufacturers are showing signs of improved order books.
Government policy has been aggressive in trying to reduce unemployment, it has invested in Jobcentre Plus, it has targetted support on the younger unemployed, with the £1 billion Futures Jobs Fund, this giving training or a job after six months claiming job seekers allowance.
The governments stimulus packages boosted the economy this with the Bank of England printing £200 billion to shore up the failing banking sector.
Now we know the conservative party are highly critical of the government, claiming that even in the deepest recession since the twenties, the government should immediately cut the government borrowing.
If we look across the Irish Sea, we can see the Irish government have cut child benefit by ten per cent, the British Tories want to cut £480 from the working families tax credits.
The Irish government are cutting unemployment benefit by 4% and more for under 25 year olds.
The Irish public sector workers are having wages cut by between 5 - 8%.
The Irish are to increase health charges, with 50% increases on prescription charges.
The Irish government are cutting 960 million euros from there investment proposals.
I believe at this stage of the economic cycle it would be madness to make savage cuts to necessary government spending, so no thanks on change, when markets fail, government must act to defend the interests of the hard working people, I'm glad our government did respond at home and on the international stage.