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Amendment of the Law

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:48 pm on 24th March 2014.

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Photo of Nicky Morgan Nicky Morgan The Economic Secretary to the Treasury 9:48 pm, 24th March 2014

No, I will make some progress. Mr Hain talked about exports. Exports to countries outside the EU continue to grow, rising by 23% since 2010. Mr McFadden talked about the referendum on the EU damaging investment. That is a common theme on the Labour Benches, but the Government believe it is time to trust the people and ask them about important issues. Labour Members clearly do not.

Angela Smith talked about support for energy-intensive industries, which she and I have discussed before. She encouraged us to make strong representations to the European Commission for the extension of compensation, and I take those points on board. Dr Whitehead spoke about the carbon price floor, and Roberta Blackman-Woods talked about the north-east needing more support. Frank Dobson talked about Euston station.

John Woodcock talked about Olympic-scale investment under this Government, and Mr Wright mentioned productivity. He is right; the job is not yet done. That is why we do not think that anyone should entrust the keys to those who crashed the car. Mrs Hodgson missed the fact that this Government are already spending £5 billion on child care, before we get to tax free child care.

I welcome Mike Kane to the House. I know this was not his maiden speech, but if he can raise a laugh after five hours of a Budget debate he is a welcome addition to the House. He mentioned reform of air passenger duty. That is what I was discussing with his predecessor just before Christmas, and I look forward to continued discussions on that.

My hon. Friends the Members for Wolverhampton South West and for Brentford and Isleworth said that we need greater business investment, and they are right. Investment has been too low for too long, and it has held back growth. Had business investment increased by just 10% in 2012, the level of GDP would be £12 billion higher. We must create an environment that encourages business to invest.