Late last month in Parliament, the Chancellor presented the house with his Autumn Statement.

Since the summer, the Tories have been looking for a reset moment.

They tried with their party conference and failed. They tried with the King’s Speech and failed.

And last week we saw them try again with the Autumn Statement and, again, they failed.

The tax changes were a desperate throw of the dice from a government which is trying anything it can think of to try to change the political weather.

Portraying themselves as the party of change has not worked. So now they are reverting to pre-election tax measures.

This was billed as a statement for growth but immediately after the statement, the OBR cut the growth forecast for next year from 1.8 per cent to 0.7 per cent, and in 2025 from 2.5 per cent to 1.4 per cent having modelled a new projection based on the government's fiscal update.

Contrary to their spin and rhetoric, thanks to this government, taxes are still heading to their highest level for decades mainly because of the five-year freeze on personal allowances.

Living standards are still falling too – in fact, during this Parliament living standards will have fallen by 3.1 per cent - the only parliament on record where living standards have fallen.

So, what does all this mean to Newport East residents?

By the end of this Parliament, we will have an economy with little or no growth. Families will be burdened with the highest tax burdens since records began, all of us paying more in tax and feeling worse off.

People will be asking themselves; “are my family and I better off?”. The answer is no.

* It was an absolute joy to head to Caldicot at the end of last month to join everyone at the Christmas lights switch-on event. John Griffiths and I had the honour of helping to switch on the lights and help with judging the annual shop front competition. As always, the entertainment was brilliant, and it was great to see so many independent retailers at the Christmas market. A huge well done to everyone involved and a big thank you for inviting me to the event.

Talking of Christmas, I started December with a visit to the Royal Mail delivery office in Newport East.

The office serves 33,000 households and during this month they expect to handle more than one million letters and parcels, so hats off and a huge thank you to all our amazing posties who are making sure everything gets through for the festive season.

As with many industries, they’re struggling to recruit and currently have several vacancies, so if you’re looking for a new job it could be worth your while to look at the Royal Mail vacancies website to see what’s available.

* I was pleased to hear about the footfall numbers for Newport city centre, which showed that Newport is once again bucking the trend, with footfall up by five per cent on pre-pandemic levels.

With its exciting selection of small independent retailers, bars and places to eat, the city centre offers something unique and different to surrounding towns and cities, so it’s easy to see why more and more people are enjoying what Newport has to offer. Well done to everyone involved in creating a brilliant city centre experience.

* With the drop in the temperature, I know many people will be worried about home energy costs. To try and help with that, my office and I have put together a handy booklet which signposts all the help there is available to households to help with the cost of bills.

To read it online, scan the QR code or for a physical copy sent to your home, please call the office on 01633 841725.

As this is my last column for the South Wales Argus for 2023, I’ll take this opportunity to wish you and your family a peaceful and happy Christmas and good wishes for 2024.

If there’s anything my team or I can help with, please get in touch, either by calling the number above or emailing me at