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As the leaves fall, the days get shorter and the temperature drops, the prospects for our country can seem a little bleak.

Consumers are cutting their spending because of rising energy bills. Businesses are holding back from making investments because of fears of another banking crisis in Europe. And unemployment is rising again.

Even the weather forecasters are predicting a freezing cold winter. It is hard to resist the encircling gloom.

But resist it we should. Britain has faced much sterner tests and discovered its true mettle in the process.

You only need meet the staff of great businesses like Grantham’s BGB Innovation, Payplan and Red Rhino to know that the spirit of enterprise is alive and well in our country.

You only need to talk to students at our town’s great schools and colleges to know that ambition, determination and the capacity for hard work run strong in the veins of the next generation. And you only need visit remarkable charities and voluntary groups like Grantham Passage, Home Start, the Citizens’ Advice Bureau (in its new offices in the Guildhall) and the volunteers at the Grantham Community Heritage Association who have taken on the Grantham Museum, to know that the British people have not lost their instinct to help those who are less well off than themselves or their willingness to commit time and energy for the good of their local community.

Spring is less than six months away. If we keep our nerve and stick to the course we have set, recognising that we all must make painful sacrifices to get our country back onto a sound footing, there is every reason to hope that 2012 will bring back confidence, that businesses will invest and create jobs, and that we will all be able to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic Games, knowing that the worst is over and we can look forward to better days.

by MP Nick Boles