Orders of the Day — Budget Resolutions and Economic Situation

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:20 pm on 10th March 1999.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Martin O'Neill Mr Martin O'Neill Chair, Trade & Industry Committee 6:20 pm, 10th March 1999

I am sorry, the hon. Gentleman will appreciate that I do not have time.

Those hauliers find that their business is being taken by lorries coming over from France loaded with fuel that is far cheaper. There is a problem here and we have to balance prices up. We have to recognise that there is a split between the needs of the environment and the needs of the Chancellor.

I should like to think that we could be looking at the question of the trading of permits. That was one of the issues that Marshall considered in his review of energy taxation. It is an interesting market, of which Britain could corner a bit, but, more important, it would give us greater flexibility in emission control. To deal only with one part of the Marshall report is short-sighted.

We see a Government who recognise that we shall no longer be able to depend on the construction of steel mills or massive textile mills to mop up the employment of our people. We need small, effective businesses, and I look forward to continuing debates on e-commerce and the like, which are in their infancy and are only nodded to in the Budget. I know that that is part of the Government's programme. I see the Budget as an important step this year. I welcome it and hope that, by this time next year, we shall see that the small amounts that have been made available—if they were large amounts, the Government would be attacked for providing subsidies—for support and assistance to small businesses and industry in general, and the climate and stability that the Government have created, are the greatest aspects of the Budget. I welcome it.