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Devolution and Growth Across Britain

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:17 pm on 3rd June 2015.

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Photo of Sajid Javid Sajid Javid The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills 2:17 pm, 3rd June 2015

I echo the tributes that were paid to Charles Kennedy earlier today. I was not fortunate enough to know him well, but his reputation for courage, his principles and his humour were well known to all. My thoughts are with his family and friends.

I extend a warm welcome to all new Members of the House and to you, Mr Deputy Speaker, upon your return. I also welcome back Mr Umunna. I look forward to our many encounters over the coming months. The hon. Gentleman and I have an unusual connection. Soon after I was elected back in 2010, as was he, it came as a great surprise to be recognised so frequently by members of the public. I later discovered, after a particularly excited individual took a selfie with me, that they thought I was the hon. Member for Streatham. [Laughter.] I consider that to be a compliment, but I am not sure whether the same is true of him.

The title of our manifesto promised three things if we were returned to government: strong leadership, a clear economic plan and a brighter, more secure future for our country—our whole country. After Labour’s record-breaking recession, the British economy is experiencing record-breaking growth. Maintaining that growth will be at the heart of everything this Government do over the next five years. Because the Conservatives are the party of the many, not the few, we will deliver that growth in a way that benefits all of Britain’s people: creating opportunity for everyone, rebalancing our economy, devolving power to every corner of the United Kingdom—a one nation party; a one nation Government.

The Scottish and Welsh Governments already have more powers than they did five years ago. The Scotland Act 2012 contained significant new financial powers for the Scottish Parliament, all of which will be enforced by April 2016. The Wales Act 2014, introduced last December, moved various tax and borrowing powers from Westminster to Cardiff. Legislation introduced earlier this year paved the way for the devolution of corporation tax to Northern Ireland. Now we will go further.