Maybe it was the tone that felt dismissive. In my constituency, we have embraced quantum technology. We are making a cold atom trap and the oscillator for a quantum clock. There is nothing wrong with being in a “sexy” sector. Last week, that employer called in 120 of its lowest-paid workers and gave them a pay rise of between 8% and 18%. These are real products, real sales, real profits and real pay rises. That is what will drive our country’s future.
I thank the Treasury for the investment in infrastructure. People in my constituency spend too much time in traffic jams and on delayed trains. It is a waste of their personal time and it hits the country’s productivity. We are building tens of thousands of homes in my constituency, and we need the infrastructure too. We need the second railway station and the north-east bypass, and we have got our bids in to the housing infrastructure fund—it is great to see that fund being increased—and the local roads fund. We need money for main roads, cash for cycleways and pounds for our potholes, but in Chelmsford, my pinch point is the ancient Army and Navy flyover. I want our local roads fund to be Ford’s flyover fund, please.
There are three other things in the Budget that I would really like to praise. The first is the tax on virgin plastics. We need a game changer in the way we use plastics on this planet, and I am really glad that Britain is leading the way on this. The second is the improvement in universal credit. That is welcomed not only by us on this side of the Chamber but by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the Trussell Trust and the Resolution Foundation. All those organisations are real experts in fighting poverty. The third thing is the massive boost for the NHS in the form of £20 billion for health and mental health, which is not funded through hiking up taxes. We are putting more money into the pockets of our lowest-paid workers by freezing and raising their tax thresholds.
There is a great deal in this Budget to be proud of, and I am proud to be the last Back-Bencher to speak in favour of it tonight.