I support tax cuts for hard-working people throughout our country. They had to put up with the highest burden of taxation in this country for generations.
To go back to housing—I am conscious of time—the small release of land that I am proposing would create enough land supply for at least 1.5 million new homes, while leaving 98% of all existing green belt land entirely untouched. Indeed, the remaining area of the green belt would still be over 115% larger than it was in 1979. There is growing cross-party consensus on this topic. I pay tribute to the campaigning work by Siobhain McDonagh. We should also be looking at innovative proposals such as those from London YIMBY, which set out how we could empower individual streets to set their own design codes and build upwards rather than outwards.
We also need to look to Brexit. We must stop looking at our leaving a dysfunctional and anti-democratic EU as a problem to be mitigated, rather than as an opportunity to be seized. Trying to cling desperately to the skirts of the customs union is frankly unworthy of the world’s fifth-biggest economy. The announcement that there will be a special economic area in the Tees valley is genuinely welcome news. I hope that it will become the first free port in the UK after Brexit, and, indeed, the first of many. But if that free zone is to be a success, it will need meaningful powers. I refer Ministers to the speech I gave in Westminster Hall in the debate I secured with Frank Field. As we sit here today, we do not know the precise nature of our future trading relationship with Europe. I can say with confidence, however, that half measures and a lack of national self-belief must be rejected utterly as we forge our new path in the world.