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The hon. Gentleman makes an interesting point. We all understand that things are said in the Chamber that perhaps cannot be said outside. During the election, however, the Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend Mr Cameron, made it very clear that we had no truck with the idea of getting rid of the winter fuel allowance or free bus passes. He even said that in the debate with the then Prime Minister, and yet Labour still put out scaremongering leaflets. When we get into election mode, let us have a bit more honesty. Does the hon. Gentleman wish to intervene again or has he given up?
I also welcome the freeze on council tax, and I am pleased that Bournemouth borough council has met the rules on that. It is important that there is a relationship to encourage local councils to take more responsibility for their own matters, but to get rewarded for that by Government.
I am pleased with the initiatives on small businesses. They make up 90% of our economy, and we need to look after them. In places such as the south-west and Bournemouth, tourism is important-it is our fifth biggest industry-and we do not do enough to support it. Benefit will come from the lowest ever corporation tax-the main rate has been cut from 28% to 24%-and the cut in the tax rate for small companies from 21% to 20%. There has also been an expansion of the loans guarantee system, without which many good companies were frustrated in getting money from the banks. I am pleased that the Treasury Front-Bench team has realised that.
Fat government will also be reduced. A 25% reduction over the next four years will be very difficult, but government became bloated and far too centralised under Labour. I look forward to a much simpler set-up that gives more power to communities.
This Budget is the most dramatic and far-reaching since the war. Balancing the books must be a priority, but even in these tough times the Budget promotes a cultural shift in Britain, encouraging the individual, the family, the community and the country to take responsibility. Ensuring that the banking sector and financial services are better regulated to avoid a repeat of the economic downturn is long overdue. This Budget is an ambitious effort to reduce the nation's borrowing and repair the damage created by the last Labour Government. Labour will no doubt claim that many of these radical measures can be avoided, while secretly knowing that, had they miraculously won the election, they would have had to implement the very same changes themselves.
Let me end by congratulating the Chancellor and his team on producing such a comprehensive and robust Budget. While recognising the difficulties that it will impose on the entire country, I believe that it is appropriate and overdue medicine to expedite Britain's way to recovery.
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