Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.Donate to our crowdfunder
The hon. Gentleman spoke very movingly about the impact on his constituents. Let me reassure him that I believe that this is the right Budget for the future, and that his constituents will recognise that over the next five years. If we retain our current debt in five years' time, however, we could be paying more in debt interest than on educating our children, policing our streets and defending our country, and that would be a disgrace.
The United Kingdom remained in recession for longer than the other G7 countries. Output declined for six consecutive quarters, and we now have the highest inflation in Europe. Continuing with business as usual simply is not an option, so we are faced with the task of making the unavoidable, and in some cases unpalatable, decisions that have been called for by the Governor of the Bank of England, the G20, and many in industry. Mervyn King has described the Government's deficit reduction as "strong and powerful". He said:
"I am very pleased that there is a very clear and binding commitment to accelerate the reduction in the deficit over the lifetime of the Parliament".
John Thurso-I went to Lairg primary school, so I am very fond of his constituency-talked about the risks and pain associated with the Budget, but he also said that this was something that we had to do. I agree wholeheartedly with that. However, we have tried to do it in a way that spreads the pain that is so inevitable, while protecting those most at risk and establishing the conditions required to ensure future growth.
First, let us look at the impact on business. Businesses large and small have much to be hopeful about following this Budget. As in other constituencies, there are many such businesses in Brentford and Isleworth. They need a stable economic environment in which to prosper, and this Budget will deliver that. The cuts in corporation tax will benefit them greatly and encourage them to continue to grow their staff and expand their operations in the UK, and smaller businesses will appreciate the cut in the small companies tax rate from 22% to 20%.
However, let me tell Members what some of my constituents said to me when I spoke to them today. The chief executive of West London Business, who represents more than 800 businesses in west London, said:
"Overall we feel that this is a pro-business Budget and we are pleased with it: a key element is the reduction in corporation tax which is positive for all businesses; 89% of businesses in our area have fewer than 10 employees so they will be happy with the relief on national insurance payments for small businesses. Whilst CGT has increased, these are welcome allowances for business."
I also spoke to Andrew Doggwiler of the Hounslow chambers of commerce. He said:
"It was a tough Budget with a lot of pain being shared around, aimed at reducing the public sector deficit and restoring the confidence of the international markets in the British economy...There are positives for business in terms of reduction in corporation tax rates, extension of the enterprise finance guarantee scheme and increase in the entrepreneurs' relief, which indicates that the Government are keen to promote business success. The Government must continue to find ways to support businesses, particularly small and medium-sized businesses, as their success is the best way of ensuring a sustainable economic recovery creating long-lasting jobs and wealth."
That is what businesses in the hearts of our constituencies are saying.
Copy and paste this code on your website