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Budget Resolutions - Income Tax (Charge)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:19 pm on 1st November 2018.

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Photo of Derek Thomas Derek Thomas Conservative, St Ives 2:19 pm, 1st November 2018

The Budget contains many good measures for families in my constituency. I am grateful to be able to take part in this important debate, and I have listened to much of what has been said. I will try not to add to what has already been said but instead identify issues that have not yet been covered.

Families rightly want to feel secure in their homes, and I have three asks that I think could help. The first relates to the use of existing stock. It is still the case, even in west Cornwall, that many properties are not lived in. They are not second homes or holiday lets; they are literally abandoned. I would like the Department and the Chancellor to consider ways of giving councils the incentive to refurbish them to provide homes for local families and give them security of tenure.

Secondly, just before they lost the election in 2010, the Labour Government introduced the infrastructure levy on house builders. That has had a devastating effect, discouraging builders, particularly small builders, who want to provide housing. For local families, it adds a huge amount of money to the sale of a house. It would therefore be good if the Budget were able to scrap that charge imposed on both house buyers and the sector.

Finally on housing, many of my constituents appreciate the move across to universal credit from the previous set of benefits, but those who struggle to manage their budget would prefer their rent to be paid directly to the landlord. Will the Chancellor look at how that could be more easily done when it is in the interests of the tenants themselves?

Families live in communities, and parish and town councils run our local communities. The scrapping of business rates on public toilets, which Cornish MPs have fought for since 2015 when I was first elected, will be of enormous benefit to my local parish and town councils. In my constituency alone that measure will be worth £120,000, which can now be spent on local services that will benefit families and other people living in our parish and town council areas. I will play my part in making sure that that legislation goes through.

I have been calling for the rate cut for small businesses for some time, and I am grateful for the positive impact that it will have on towns in my constituency. My right hon. Friend Justine Greening covered that issue very well, so I will not say any more about it.

I was disappointed in the Budget in one respect. It is right that families have access to good sporting facilities, so I was hoping to hear something about the stadium for Cornwall. For 10 years in Cornwall, we have worked to try to put together a scheme worthy of Government support. I believe I did everything I could, along with all Cornish MPs and others, to convince the Chancellor to provide the £3 million we need to give us a 6,000-seater stadium or the £5 million to give us a 10,000-seater stadium. Cornwall does not have a centre where sports can be played easily. Part of the proposal is to extend outreach to every corner of the county, improving the health and wellbeing of children and their families. What more can my colleagues and I do, with the people of Cornwall, to convince the Government that the money is needed and deserved, and that the scheme provides value for money? It could be that, among all the other priorities, the stadium for Cornwall slipped the attention of the Chancellor. I am grateful for the opportunity to remind the Treasury team of this worthy cause and look forward to positive guidance on how we can achieve the stadium for Cornwall.