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Budget Resolutions - Amendment of the Law

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:45 pm on 13th March 2017.

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Photo of Simon Kirby Simon Kirby The Economic Secretary to the Treasury 10:45 pm, 13th March 2017

This debate has focused on our future. It has asked what kind of Britain we want to be as we write an important new chapter in our history. In opening the debate, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary expressed, in his very clear style, the fact that Britain must now, as ever, continue to play an active, engaged and constructive role on the international stage. Many hon. Members have echoed that sentiment, and I thank the 32 right hon. and hon. Members who have spoken for their thoughtful and varied contributions this evening. In the short time available, I will do my best to address the points that they have raised.

Many hon. Members have focused on that most pressing of priorities: how we make Brexit—I will say the word—a success for the whole country. In summing up this debate, I want to look beyond that to how we want the rest of the world to view 21st-century Britain. For me, and I hope for Thangam Debbonaire, that means a prosperous country that is open for business and that is pioneering global developments in science and technology. So let me make a few remarks on that theme and respond to some of the points that we have heard today.

First, there is the need for a prosperous, stable and economically successful Britain. Once again, I remind those who do not acknowledge it of the absolute importance of Britain living within its means. Everyone should agree on that. For the sake of our long-term prosperity and for the good of our public services, we simply have to put our national finances on a stable and sustainable footing. So we are going to keep preparing Britain for whatever comes, getting the structural deficit below 2% of GDP and getting our debt falling during this Parliament.

We are also focusing on growing our economy. We want the world to see Britain as a country that is open for business, backing entrepreneurs, creating jobs and attracting foreign investment. That is the best way to raise living standards for people right across our society and up and down our country. That is why we have established a competitive tax environment. Corporation tax, which Jonathan Reynolds mentioned, will this year be the lowest in the G20 at 19%, falling even further to 17% in 2020. I should point out to him that when it was reduced from 28% to 20%, it resulted in a 28% increase in tax revenues and in more jobs. Also, there are an additional two thirds of a million new jobs in the forecast period, meaning more money, more businesses doing well and more people with a wage packet at the end of the week.