Finance (No. 3) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:47 pm on 12th November 2018.

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Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Conservative, Cheltenham 7:47 pm, 12th November 2018

It is critically important that we do not have a cap for those people who want to become nurses. One thing I found very depressing when I was first elected back in 2015 was that people wrote to me saying, “I want to become a nurse, but I can’t become a nurse, and yet the trust is off taking trips to other parts of the world to recruit nurses from overseas, while I cannot do it here in the UK.” That is something that we should not allow to continue. It is important that the money is spent in the communities that require it. In Cheltenham at the moment, trust managers want to shift all general surgery facilities from Cheltenham to Gloucester, but, as 58 clinicians wrote only today, that would be a mistake. It would be unsatisfactory for care in the whole of Gloucestershire, and I am calling on the trust to think again.

There was also £400 million for potholes, which is a priority for my constituents and something that I take very seriously as well. That is an extra £8 million or so for Gloucestershire. I also welcome the measures to safeguard businesses in our high streets. We all know that they are facing increased pressures, but to take a third off the business rate bill of small businesses in my constituency is a shot in the arm for our high streets and is something of which we can be proud. When I went round high streets in Cheltenham over the weekend, the news from the Chancellor was welcomed. Businesses could look towards a future with real optimism. The scope to roll out these measures is only provided by managing the economy fairly and sensibly. We do not take measures simply because we take some pleasure in eradicating the deficit for the sake of it; we do so because we want to create opportunity in our society. We want to say to our young people, “Be brave and be bold about the future because it is an exciting future.” A country that loses control of its finances loses control of the prospects of its young people. That is why I take pride in what the Chancellor has delivered and why we can say in confidence across this House that the United Kingdom’s best days lie ahead.