Budget Resolutions - Income Tax (Charge)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:46 pm on 31st October 2018.

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Photo of John Howell John Howell Conservative, Henley 3:46 pm, 31st October 2018

Thank you. The whole point is to ensure that this is done through the neighbourhood planning process. This will give people an enormous incentive to undertake a neighbourhood plan, because they know that it might give them the opportunity to say that the houses involved are genuinely to be allocated to local people.

Moving on, business rates reform will be a real help for businesses, and I do not know why the Opposition are downplaying it. In Henley—I think that the same is true in Thame—the problem is not so much about high rents, but business rates, and the local paper maintains an empty-shop watch to note any fluctuations. I sought some information before this debate, and the number of smaller properties in the Henley area that will benefit from this third reduction in business rates is something like 250,000—a phenomenal number.

I mentioned fusion in several interventions, and it is something that I have kept a close eye on not only because the JET Culham Centre for Fusion Energy is in my constituency, but because I am the chair of the all-party parliamentary group on nuclear fusion. I am therefore pleased that an additional £20 million will be spent on the fusion project, an element of which was recently opened by Prince William. As I pointed out in an earlier intervention, that is a useful sum of money because it is not the commercial project, which is being undertaken in France.