My hon. Friend highlights a piece of advocacy that he has made personally and as a member of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee to ensure that we give growing businesses the ability to expand. That investment by and through the British Business Bank, particularly through its regional focus on Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, is very important. It should be close to the people in whom it is investing.
By investing in new equipment and employing new people, it is businesses that create jobs, not the Government. Businesses provide people with the earnings they need to live good lives. After the family and education, it is businesses that provide most of us with the best opportunity to develop and make the most of our talents. It is businesses that pay for every single one of our public services, both directly and by employing people. Governments cannot do such things, but they can stand in the way. There is no successful society anywhere in the world that is not based on successful businesses.
However, at a time when we need national determination to invest in future business success through a long-term approach, we have an Opposition whose would-be Chancellor describes business as the “real enemy”. A month ago in Liverpool—a city that drove out business when the hard left last seized power, taking a generation to recover—a chilling warning was sounded to the world: “If you dare to invest in Britain, 10% of your value will be seized forever without compensation. You’ll be taxed at the highest level in the peacetime history of this country. You’ll be trapped in a nightmare economy where, at a stroke, the state goes a third of a trillion pounds more into debt. The would-be Government fully expect a run on the pound and capital flight.” Whatever uncertainty there is over Brexit, businesses tell me time and again that their biggest nightmare would be to have the Leader of the Opposition and the shadow Chancellor in Downing Street.
The choice could not be clearer. Britain has the chance to be in the vanguard of the most exciting developments in the history of global commerce and innovation, or to be shunned by investors as one of the most left-wing, anti-enterprise, ruinously indebted nations in the developed world. The aim of this project is to build a country in which our children and grandchildren can look forward with confidence to ever-stronger security and ever-growing opportunity. That choice has never been more vital for Britain, and I commend the Budget to House.