Budget Resolutions - Income Tax (Charge)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:44 pm on 31st October 2018.

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Photo of Robert Jenrick Robert Jenrick The Exchequer Secretary 6:44 pm, 31st October 2018

We have heard in this debate that this is a Budget for high streets and town centres. With great respect, Chi Onwurah said that we had borrowed one point of the Labour party’s five-point plan for the high street, and that is true, we did—we are committing to pilot a register of empty shops—but we looked at the other four points in the plan and, frankly, they were thin gruel. We decided that we could do better, and we have.

We are providing a 30% discount to small businesses, affecting 90% of our retailers across the country, and we have created a £675 million future high streets fund—a competitive fund for people across the House and across the country to bid into to secure between £5 million and £25 million to transform their towns. I was surprised that Opposition Members repeatedly criticised the idea of having more homes in town centres, because that is not what the public say. We want vibrant communities in our town centres, and we want to make it cheaper and easier to create shops, workplaces and homes there.

We also heard about great ideas in the Budget. We have to grow the economy in all parts of the country. For example, we heard from my hon. Friend Mr Clarke about the special economic area that we are creating in Teesside, working in partnership with Anna Turley. That has the potential to transform investment in that area.