Certainly, very important steps are being taken, such as raising personal allowances, which will help all our constituents who are facing challenging times. However, there are also measures in the Bill that will help businesses to create more work and more wealth, and help us to achieve greater growth and prosperity.
Returning to clauses 39 to 43, the Chancellor has championed the consumer’s right to take decisions in accordance with their own life circumstances, over and above the procrustean desires of the state. Much has been said about these reforms, and no doubt plenty more will be said in the days and years ahead, but I want to focus today on how other clauses in the Bill are equally supportive of consumers by bolstering competition and lowering barriers to entry for British enterprise—clause 10, on capital allowances, clause 6, on corporation tax, and clause 73, on air passenger duty, to name but a few. Encouraging new entrants—those first-time entrepreneurs, employers and exporters—is vital in increasing choice for consumers and in keeping established businesses on their toes and responsive to their customers. This Government have slashed barriers to entry through deregulation initiatives—an ongoing process that I have been involved with on the Deregulation Bill Committee—and there is also the red tape challenge and the one-in, two-out regulatory arrangements. These are important steps in creating much-needed supply-side reforms.
I hope to contribute further on the Finance Bill Committee—if I can catch the Whip’s eye—because the barriers to small new businesses, new employers and new exporters have been kept far too high in the previous decade or more. We need to get on and finish the job and create a real enterprise pathway. There is little point in trying to address the problem of firms that are too big to fail if we do not also seek to address that of new businesses that are too small to succeed against barriers to entry that have been in place for far too long. This Bill helps us to take significant strides forward. In the words of the British Chambers of Commerce:
“By making a better business environment his top priority, the Chancellor has recognised that successful and confident companies are the key to transforming Britain’s growing economic recovery into one that is felt in homes and on high streets.”
It is the economics of strong, long-term measures for long-term growth.