Amendment of the Law

Part of Budget Resolutions and Economic Situation – in the House of Commons at 7:42 pm on 10th March 1992.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Sir Nicholas Bonsor Sir Nicholas Bonsor , Upminster 7:42 pm, 10th March 1992

It is a pleasure to follow the speech of the hon. Member for Pontefract and Castleford (Mr. Lofthouse). I am grateful to him for the nice things that he said about my hon. Friend the Member for Windsor and Maidenhead (Sir A. Glyn). I think that his tribute was one which all hon. Members would wish to share with him. I very much regret the departure of my hon. Friend. He has been extremely good to me during the 13 years that I have shared with him in the House. I wish him every success in his retirement.

The debate has been a great mixture of speeches made by those who are about to leave the House, those on the Opposition Benches who have been practising their own adoption addresses, covering a range of wholly irrelevant issues in order to fax the speeches to their constituencies, probably in the near future, and those on the Conservative Benches who have properly addressed the Budget. I hope to join the latter category and to do so extremely shortly.

This was a first class Budget which avoided all the pitfalls which many members of the press saw faced my right hon. Friend the Chancellor and on which there has been great speculation during the past few weeks. I am particularly pleased that my right hon. Friend did not take 1p in the pound off income tax. Those who said that that would have been seen as a bribe were right. It would have been ineffective and it would have done nothing to improve the state of our economy. I am delighted that the Government avoided going down that path.

Instead, the Government have adopted the dual main thrust for the Budget of helping the elderly who need help, particularly pensioners, and adjusting the threshold to help those in the lower earnings categories. The Government have also succeeded in helping small businesses. Those achievements are extremely relevant to the state of our economy and to Britain's needs.

There is no doubt that the recession is biting hard and causing great hardship. It is a pity that much of the debate on that issue takes place with a kind of myopia. It does not appear that any Opposition Member is prepared to look beyond the channel to see what is happening in the rest of the world. It is not possible to take just the British economy to lay at the feet of successive Chancellors of the Exchequer the blame for the fact that we are in recession. The blunt truth is that the world is in recession. All our major trading partners and all the major export markets into which we hope to sell our goods are in recession.