The Economy

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:39 pm on 8th July 2020.

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Photo of Greg Smith Greg Smith Conservative, Buckingham 5:39 pm, 8th July 2020

It is a pleasure to follow Daisy Cooper.  It is rare for a Conservative to agree with a Liberal Democrat on much, but I agree with her on pubs. Even before covid, too many of our pubs were shutting down, particularly in village communities and small towns, with the Bell at Bierton and the George and Dragon in Princes Risborough in my constituency being two examples. I hope that all our local pubs will take part in the “eat out to help out scheme” and that we will all encourage our constituents to use village pubs and town pubs, as well as local shops and businesses. Now that they have reopened, it is crunch time, and if we want them to have a prosperous future, it is vital that we all support them.

I very much welcome the announcements made by the Chancellor today. This is yet another set of unprecedented measures to support our economy, retaining jobs and creating new ones, while ensuring that there are opportunities for young people in particular to enter the workplace and learn the skills they need. It is vital that we get our economy moving again at speed and, as the Chancellor said, return our public finances to a sustainable footing. Jobs are critical to both those outcomes, for the financial security of individuals and families and the flow of revenue into the Treasury. As the Chancellor prepares for the autumn Budget, I urge him to ensure that we keep taxes low on both individuals and businesses, because no high-tax economy has ever successfully come out of a financial crisis.

I have one particular ask for my constituency. We are lucky to have two key hubs of technological innovators that are already creating the jobs of the future. They are part of the Aylesbury Vale enterprise zone, and the sites at Westcott and Silverstone Park are critical for our continued economic growth. It is because of their enterprise zone status that they have been so successful and instrumental in attracting inward investment, but that status is due to expire in March 2021. As businesses consider whether to invest, it would be life-changing for that enterprise zone status and tax relief period to be extended by at least a year, or perhaps through to 2024, to ensure that they can be part of the future prosperity of Buckinghamshire and the wider UK economy.