Driving between the towns and villages that make up East Devon, I am often struck by how our forebears planned ahead.

We have been endowed with Victorian church schools that are the core of our modern-day primary schools, for example.

Last week one resident said to me precisely what had been going through my mind. “We don’t seem to think long-term any more”, I was told on a local doorstep. I agree entirely - the Government’s record is one of short-term thinking in pursuit of quick fixes.

There are dozens of examples of short-term thinking in national and local government. Take potholes – there are half-hearted patch-up jobs all around, rather than re-surfacing. It is damaging people’s tyres and suspension, meaning that small savings on Government spending are leading to large costs to the individual.

The same is true of healthcare. Even three decades ago, people in the local area were donating what they could to the construction of community hospitals such as the one at Seaton. Now, The King’s Fund recommends that 'national leaders will need to completely shift their focus … towards primary and community health and care'.

The lack of long-term thinking is most apparent in education. When the Liberal Democrats were in Government in 2011, education spending accounted for 5.4 per cent of all spending in the UK. In 2019, that had fallen to 3.9 per cent under the Conservatives. Figures from the Child Poverty Action Group indicate that over four million children are growing up in poverty, 7 in 10 of whom have a parent who is in work. These are children who, often through no fault of their own, are waking up hungry and going to school ravenous and irritable.

One of the simplest ways to tackle child disruption in the classroom and to improve educational attainment is to expand free school meal provision in primary schools. In government, Liberal Democrats made this a priority, and as a result every infant gets a hot nutritious meal at school every day. Education is an investment, not in accordance with the electoral cycle, but in dividends that will be realised in the decades to come.