Stephen Hammond: Investing in our economy creates jobs and growth, and successful businesses drive that. Will my right hon. Friend tell the House how much the corporate tax take has gone up since the cut in corporation tax? Will he confirm that he will do nothing to hinder our internationally competitive corporate tax rates?
Stephen Hammond: What steps he is taking to support growth in the small business sector.
Stephen Hammond: Of course I join in the congratulations to the Minister, but he will know that one of the crucial requirements for the success of the small business sector is access to and understanding of finance, and there is considerable evidence that there is currently a knowledge gap in the market. What are the Government doing to address that?
Stephen Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what representations he has received from the coach industry on the Government’s Air Quality Action Plan.
Stephen Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to announce the (a) terms of references for and (b) identity of the Chairman of the independent review of Crossrail 2; and when that review will be required to report.
Stephen Hammond: What plans the Government have to ensure that the UK legal system operates effectively after the UK leaves the EU.
Stephen Hammond: Professional services, including legal services, are clearly one of the key exports of this country. What is my right hon. Friend doing to ensure that there will be new arrangements for the recognition of legal standards and qualifications?
Stephen Hammond: To ask the Sectary of State what progress has been made on agreeing Local Industrial Strategies; and which local areas are in discussion with his Department to develop Local Industrial Strategies.
Stephen Hammond: Will my right hon. Friend tell the House what assessment the Treasury has made either separately or jointly with the Department for Transport of how external initiatives on competitiveness and investment might help the rail sector and Network Rail in particular?
Stephen Hammond: The Minister remarked that the Government are, quite rightly, looking at all potential outcomes. In the unlikely scenario that there is no deal, the Government must surely prepare for what would ameliorate the economic damage that has been shown by the Government’s economic impact studies. Would it not be sensible to make sure that we have preparations for other solutions as well, one...
Stephen Hammond: I thank the Minister for his response. Like my hon. Friend the Member for Wellingborough (Mr Bone), I of course support the Government’s ambition to have a bespoke deal. Nothing I have set out this morning would in any way prevent that. The Minister, whom I regard as a thoughtful politician, will understand that I am disappointed by his response. Although this Chamber has had the...
Stephen Hammond: The hon. Gentleman is, of course, laying out the range of options I said were available and making the point about all their pros and cons. However, I think it was pretty clear from my speech that I think that the EFTA/EEA arrangement, which is what I argued for consistently throughout my speech, is the option, one, that I prefer and, two, that the Government should look at.
Stephen Hammond: They would.
Stephen Hammond: I beg to move, That this House has considered the European Free Trade Association. It is a great pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Gapes, and to see so many colleagues from across the House here so early on a Wednesday morning, when there are so many Select Committees and other things going on. We all know that this country voted to leave the European Union, and we accept that...
Stephen Hammond: I entirely agree with my hon. Friend, and I want to make a point in a moment about some of the Government’s ambitions regarding their Trade Bill. Joining EFTA would be a significant help when it comes to making up for the loss of EU free trade agreements. It would demonstrate to the world that the United Kingdom is not leaving Europe as it leaves the EU, and it would highlight our...
Stephen Hammond: I see the hon. Gentleman also wishes to intervene. If he does so at this stage, maybe I could answer both points.
Stephen Hammond: In response to the hon. Member for Ealing Central and Acton (Dr Huq), it is, of course, not my decision who is in the high command, but I understand her sentiments. I absolutely hear her point about financial services. That is why I was very pleased to see the Government taking the initiative and offering unilateral passporting to financial services. Of course, that will work to the greater...