A SENIOR Government Minister this week predicted that we are entering the worst economic recession for over a hundred years.

That sounds excessively pessimistic, but the outlook is certainly bleak: unemployment is rising, economic output is falling and the Government has an unsustainable structural budget deficit.

In these circumstances, it is essential that we support local businesses and work to attract extra public and private investment to our area. We need more projects like the Cancer Centre at Musgrove Park and the new County Cricket Ground.

Blackbrook Business Park has been a great success. Companies like WPA, Clarke Willmott and AC Mole make a big contribution to our local economy. We need to continue that progress.

So I am meeting with Government Ministers, Treasury officials and Council officers to promote the flagship Project Taunton development. That would transform the wasteland around the train station and bring extra jobs and investment to Taunton.

North Wellington is also suitable for business and residential development with road improvements to ease traffic congestion.

Some people will suffer hardship because of this recession.

I am doing everything I can to help them, working in conjunction with Job Centre Plus, the Citizens' Advice Bureau, housing authorities and other organisations.

My abiding objective is to keep local jobs and safeguard the prosperity of our area.