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Budget Resolutions and Economic Situation — Amendment of the Law

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:54 pm on 22nd March 2016.

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Photo of Graham Evans Graham Evans Conservative, Weaver Vale 2:54 pm, 22nd March 2016

I bow to the greater knowledge of the hon. Gentleman, who does a great job as a small business owner in Rochdale. We cannot do everything at the same time, but overall I welcome this Budget. I am sure that he, too, welcomes the overall message to small businesses as they receive help with those reliefs.

Businesses with a property rateable value between £12,000 and £15,000 will receive tapered relief. Two thousand properties in Halton Borough Council and 7,000 properties in Cheshire West and Chester have a rateable value of below £15,000 and will all benefit substantially from the changes.

Building a northern powerhouse and rebalancing the national economy is a core part of this Government’s economic strategy. In 2015, over half a million more businesses were established outside London and the south-east than in 2010. A third of new businesses are in the northern powerhouse, and the overwhelming evidence is that those new businesses are creating more and more jobs.

In my constituency of Weaver Vale, unemployment is down by 57% since 2010. Almost three quarters of the growth in employment has been in full-time jobs, and real wages are rising strongly. Since 2010, there have been around 4,000 new housing starts in Cheshire West and Chester, and just under 2,000 new starts in the Halton and Runcorn area.

Nationally, housing starts are at their highest levels since 2008, and are up by 91% when compared with the low point in 2009. Local authorities will be able to access the £1.2 billion starter home land fund to help prepare more brownfield sites for starter homes, such as the legacy brownfield sites from ICI in Northwich in my constituency. This Government are helping generations of younger people in their 20s and 30s to buy their first home. Crucially, they are protecting our green belt while at the same time helping more young people to get on the property ladder.

The UK was the fastest growing major advanced economy in 2014, the second fastest in 2015 and it is forecast by the OECD to be the fastest growing in 2016. Under Labour, £1 in every £4 spent by the Government was borrowed, which was absolutely outrageous. Now it is £1 in every £14. The deficit has been cut by two thirds, and we will run a surplus by the end of this Parliament.

This Budget moves Britain from a high-tax, high-welfare, low-wage economy to a high-wage, low-tax, low-welfare economy. Next year, the long-awaited Mersey gateway bridge will be opened by a Conservative Government—and a Conservative Chancellor has made that happen. That reminds the world, if it ever needed reminding, that Great Britain and the north of England are open for business.