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Budget Resolutions - Income Tax (Charge)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:01 pm on 1st November 2018.

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Photo of Eddie Hughes Eddie Hughes Conservative, Walsall North 4:01 pm, 1st November 2018

It is a pleasure to be called early in the debate, Mr Speaker—or at least a little earlier than I thought I might be called. Sir Vince Cable, who is no longer in his place, seemed to have a bit of a downer on optimism. As I feel powered by optimism, I felt affronted by that idea. In the west midlands, we voted for Brexit because we are completely optimistic about what the future will hold for us, and I completely endorse the Budget, because it puts us on a great footing to make the most of those opportunities when we leave the European Union.

One thing about Conservatives is that they invariably poll high in people’s consideration of who is best to run the economy, because we do it so well. That is not just because of the things we see in this Budget. If we look back to 2010 and compare it with 2019, we see that there will be a 93% increase in the tax-free allowance, which will have gone from £6,475 to £12,500—when you represent a constituency with an average income of £27,000, changes like that are significant. People are not continuing to vote Conservative because of what we do in a single Budget; they are continuing to do so because they see a trajectory and they see us making life better for them year on year.

Why I am optimistic about the future? Because this Budget allocates £1.6 billion to ensuring that this country stays at the cutting edge of technology and innovation. I went to see Professor Kai Bongs—clever guy, clever name—at the University of Birmingham. He is leading on quantum technology. His team are working on gravity sensors. This might seem a bit abstract, but gravity sensors will help us to see beneath the ground for construction projects. Invariably, people do not get price certainty with construction projects because they do not know completely what is in the ground. Imagine if this country developed technology that allowed for that certainty and then created products that were sold throughout the world. We did it with DNA—identified at the University of Leicester and now used in 120 countries for DNA profiling. We can do it again with other technologies because we believe in our country. We know we have the people to lead us into the future, and it is tiring and depressing to hear people on the Opposition Benches talk down this country, when I know that our future is bright.