Thank you, Dame Eleanor. The statistics I have used show that income inequality is lower than it was before the crash, and this is all alongside our continuing to reduce the deficit and debt, and meeting our targets three years early, while continuing to invest more in our vital public services. This responsible approach to public finances has seen our economy and the number of jobs boom, compared with the spiralling-out-of-control economy under Labour.
I was pleased that the Minister with responsibility for high streets—the Under-Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, my hon. Friend Jake Berry—visited my constituency on Friday and talked about some of the measures we are taking in this Budget to support towns like Longton and Fenton in my constituency, helping to address some of the issues on the high street. I hope we can get some of the £650 million pot announced in the Budget to convert many of their empty premises back into use and help with business rates to ensure that retailers with a rateable value of under £51,000 will receive relief, as that will be hugely welcome by the smallest retailers in our towns.
I also want to comment on some of the views expressed by Opposition Members about entrepreneurs’ relief. I was shocked that some of the views were so anti-business and anti-enterprise. We must condemn those views, which are damaging businesses in constituencies up and down the country.