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This is my ninth Budget in this place, and the majority of them have been framed by the fact that my party has had to clean up the mess left behind by the previous Labour Government in 2010. They have been framed by the comments of Liam Byrne, who wrote:
“I’m afraid there is no money. Kind regards—and good luck!”
That was the position that the country found itself in. I feel that yesterday’s Budget was a turning point and we are now starting to see light at the end of the tunnel. We need to give great thanks to the people of this country for their hard work and their determination to see the course through. Yesterday’s Budget means we are now starting to repay the faith of the British people.
I want to focus on three areas, the first of which is public services. The Chancellor was clear yesterday—he was right—that local government had made a significant contribution to tackling the deficit. I firmly believe it needs to be recognised for that, and we need to make sure it is properly funded. I welcome the £650 million package for social care that was announced yesterday, and the £420 million for roads and potholes that will be going to local government.
I also welcome the fact that for probably the first time ever road tax will be paying for our roads rather than being spent on other things. As a consequence, the budget for Highways England will go up by 40%. It is great to see my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care in the Chamber because I warmly welcome the additional £20 billion that this Government are committing to our NHS each and every year. I look forward to seeing the 10-year plan for the NHS and, within that, the use of the £2 billion for mental health services, which are crucial. Mental health provision is important because the mental health challenges we are experiencing underpin many of the social challenges that we face in this country, so it will be great to see his proposals.
Security is the most important thing for and the first duty of any Government, so I really welcome the extra £1 billion for our armed forces and the £160 million that is going into counter-terrorism policing. I noted that the Chancellor referred to the police and the challenges our forces face in his Budget statement, so I hope that when the police settlement comes forward early next year, we will see positive progress. My local Warwickshire force is taking on additional officers, but it also faces challenges down the track, such as the pensions revaluation. I sincerely hope that that will be reflected in the policing settlement.