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Amendment of the Law

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:14 pm on 23rd March 2011.

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Photo of Richard Harrington Richard Harrington Conservative, Watford 5:14 pm, 23rd March 2011

No, I must make progress.

I normally agree with everything said by my right hon. Friend Mr Redwood, who is not in his place, and one might think that, as a Conservative Member, I would have an overwhelming interest in bureaucracy, labour laws, red tape and obstacles to business and that dealing with those things would be my top priority. However, important though they are, I think that they are secondary to the macro-economic factors—they are secondary to stability and the feeling of confidence. Germany is a classic example of that, because despite its labour laws and the fact that it has lots of regulation, manufacturing industry works well there. So I am very pleased that we are concentrating on the other issues.

I am keeping in mind your earlier comments, Mr Deputy Speaker, but I just wish to remind hon. Members that Watford is an average kind of constituency and so has 3,000 businesses, with eight being roughly the average number of people employed in them—these are predominantly small businesses. I believe that this Budget will help the long-term confidence for them, despite short-term growth forecasts, and so it is a Budget very much for the small business. It is also a Budget for the larger business, given the corporation tax measures. However, more importantly, it is a Budget for ordinary people and for their prospects. I believe that it is the best Budget that we could have, given the mess that the Government were left.