It is a pleasure to speak in this important debate and to follow Susan Elan Jones. Hers is a fine constituency in north Wales, an area I know particularly well because it abuts my own county of Cheshire. She will know how closely Cheshire MPs work with her and her colleagues in north Wales to benefit the wider economic zone. MPs in Cheshire and north Wales should work together for the betterment of all our constituents. I would like to think that the Budget goes some way towards enabling us to raise tax to invest in infrastructure that benefits our cross-border constituents.
Against a backdrop of global uncertainty, and as we start our negotiations to exit the European Union, the Budget takes forward our plan to prepare Britain for a brighter future. Nine years ago, the UK was one of the economies worst prepared to face the financial crisis; today, it is one of the best prepared. The OBR forecasts that the UK economy will grow by 2% in 2017. That figure has been revised up from the 1.4% forecast in November. The economy will be growing faster than every major economy in Europe, except Germany’s.
Any family could sit around the kitchen table and tell us that we cannot keep on spending more than we bring in; the same holds true for the Government. There is no magic money tree. Britain has debt of nearly £1.7 trillion —almost £62,000 for every household in the country—and we must never forget that, under Labour, £1 in every £4 that was spent by the Government was borrowed.