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Cost of Living: Energy and Housing

Part of Bills Presented — Finance Bill – in the House of Commons at 3:38 pm on 5th June 2014.

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Photo of Michael Ellis Michael Ellis Conservative, Northampton North 3:38 pm, 5th June 2014

The economy that this Government inherited was 20th out of the G20 leading industrialised nations. It was at the bottom of the heap. That was the responsibility of Mr Brown, Tony Blair and the Labour party. That is the appalling legacy that we are seeking to improve.

Under this Government, there are 1.7 million more apprentices. We are looking to give people opportunities. Large numbers of apprenticeships have been created to do that. There are better standards and better schools for young people. Those are significant achievements of the past four years and the Queen’s Speech will follow through on them. Only by sticking to our plan will we secure a better and brighter future for Britain.

I accept, as Julie Hilling has pointed out, that there is more to do. That is why we seek another term. In my constituency of Northampton North, the rate of unemployment is 33% lower than it was in April 2010—the month before the general election. Youth unemployment is 41% lower than it was. However, there is more to do and the rate of unemployment is still too high. Like many colleagues on the Government Benches, I organise jobs fairs on an annual basis. During the last jobs fair that I organised, more than 2,000 people came through the doors and more than 40 companies were represented, including medium, small and large companies and charities. I accept that there is more to do, but we must stick to the long-term economic plan and get it right. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Prime Minister and all those on the Treasury Bench have been getting it right and we are seeing the results.

Her Majesty referred to the infrastructure Bill. Investing in infrastructure is a key part of the country’s long-term economic plan, because we have to think to the future, like the Victorians and many of our predecessors did. They thought of future generations. Stable long-term funding for the strategic road network is very important and is anticipated in the coming Session.

I have lobbied persistently—some might say nagged—on the issue of potholes. That might seem to many to be a micro-economic issue, but it is significant. In my constituency, and no doubt in other parts of the country, the issue of potholes is of serious and significant concern. I got together a petition to seek more assistance in that regard. I am happy to say that the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in the Budget that he would allocate a further £200 million towards—