Yes. Of course, given the comparative economic situation in the EU, his words seem even more hollow.
The economic picture is looking better and better as each forecast is delivered. Having said that, I am enormously reassured by the Chancellor’s continued commitment to sorting out the deficit and trying to get our public debt under control. I know I am not the only person in the House who, on seeing the figures he presented, was reassured about the economy’s path but remained terrified by the level of our national debt and the speed with which it is growing. We accrue national debt of around £5,000 a second. We are spending enormous amounts of money over and above what we earn, and unless we get that under control, we will leave a dreadful legacy to our children and grandchildren. It would have been easy for the Chancellor to ease up a bit—to try to keep Members happy, or happier, by splurging a bit of money here and there and spending even more on the chocolate box—but the fact that he did not, and instead prioritised the notion that we should get our house in order, is enormously reassuring. In the early days of his chancellorship, he is showing great promise in helping us to turn the country around.
North West Hampshire is a part of the county of Hampshire, which is teeming with small businesses. We do not have that many large ones—one or two—but we have hundreds, if not thousands, of small businesses that are extremely sensitive to movements in the national economy. The fact that we are in the hands of a Chancellor who is committed to steering the economy on a steady path, without lurches one way or the other, will be an enormous reassurance to them and will set the course for future success.