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Budget Resolutions and Economic Situation — Amendment of the Law

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:06 pm on 22nd March 2016.

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Photo of Kenneth Clarke Kenneth Clarke Conservative, Rushcliffe 2:06 pm, 22nd March 2016

We have been extremely active on that front, but scientific knowledge is moving on. I remember when diesel was positively subsidised by Governments because it was thought to be more environmentally friendly. In a more appropriate debate, those issues are well worth pursuing. I understand the problem. I turn to what the Chancellor has to devote himself to: the Budget judgment and its implications for the economy. The Chancellor accepted, as he has to, that that is his principal responsibility. The Chancellor has the most difficult job in government, because he has to spend all his time challenging all the lobbies that demand extra expenditure and challenging his colleagues to find savings or improvements in the budgets of their Departments in order to close the gap.

What this Chancellor has not done is take a short-term view at any stage. That is why he has achieved such remarkable economic success. What I liked about his Budget speech was when he stressed how it was for future generations. What he said a few moments ago—a soundbite, if I may say so, which I had not heard before: there is no social justice without sound finance—is one of the best summations of one-nation Conservatism I have heard for a very long time.