I rise to support the Budget, which comes at an important time in the history of our country, when we need to develop policies fit to face future challenges. I agree with my right hon. Friend Mr Davis, who is no longer in his place, that we should judge the Budget on whether it delivers practically for people, businesses and families across the country, including in my community. That is how we should judge what the Chancellor brought forward.
I want to highlight three areas on which the Budget delivers for my communities. In the end, individuals, businesses and communities are there to look for solutions, and the Government are there to help. In the Budget, the Chancellor announced significant help on business rates for high streets. In Halesowen and in the Rowley Regis area of my constituency—Blackheath, Cradley Heath and Old Hill—people are very attached to their local high streets. People in Halesowen’s business improvement district are working very hard to make it a more attractive place to do business and to encourage footfall. Those people working hard in my community have the real solutions. The Government can help, as the Chancellor has through his announcement of the measures on business rates. That is a positive measure for people in my community.
The second aspect that I wanted to highlight was the new investment in the national health service, in particular around mental health. I have been campaigning about the issue for many years. It is important because it is not just a philosophical principle—that there should be parity of esteem between mental and physical health in the national health service—but it actually helps people in my community lead more resilient lives and makes their lives more fulfilling. That is why we need to invest more money in mental health.
We have the opportunity to find community solutions to the increased prevalence of mental health issues. We must find ways for schools, local authorities and people in my community to collaborate and come up with solutions and help for people suffering from mental health problems, so that they can recover and lead fulfilling lives. That is why the issue is important—it is one of the biggest health challenges we will face over the next 20 or 30 years.
Economies grow only because of the work of people who want to start and develop businesses. Those people create jobs. One of the great success stories of the last few years has been the number of businesses that have started in this country. They are creating jobs in my constituency—people who get up in the morning, improve their lives and provide jobs and opportunities for people. The Budget is there to help people achieve those goals.
The increase in the annual capital allowance—encouraging investment, encouraging people to plan for the long term—helps those people. However, in the end it is the business people—the individuals, the entrepreneurs—who will drive our economy forward as we look to the future post Brexit. They will be the lifeblood of our economy. The Government can play a role, but they do not have all the solutions. The solutions are in the hands of ordinary people. But the Government, through some of the measures in the Budget, can help by providing practical solutions.
The Budget was a series of practical measures that will help people in my constituency and around the country by investing in our health service and helping the high street, which is facing real challenges. It is individuals and communities, working with the Government, who will solve some of those problems. The Government are encouraging business investment, investing in research and development for the future and supporting our businesses so that we can start to think of the future and build on the foundations that we have developed in government. In that way, we will build a country that can face up to the challenges and really take advantage of the opportunities out there in the world.