Lucy Frazer: Thank you very much Mr Deputy Speaker for calling me to speak this afternoon. I congratulate you on your election. I am delighted to speak after my hon. Friend the Member for Bexhill and Battle (Huw Merriman). I, too, have a specialism in insolvency, but neither of us can claim to be as expert in that subject as Gordon Brown. I am also pleased to have spoken after the hon. Member for North...
Lucy Frazer: Like many constituencies, South East Cambridgeshire contains many industries that compete in the international markets, as well as many small businesses. Will the Secretary of State engage as many of those businesses as possible in the debate on reform?
Lucy Frazer: On that very point, according to records produced this morning, youth unemployment in my constituency is at its lowest level on record: only 70 young people there are claiming jobseeker’s allowance, compared with 365 young people in April 2010. The credit for that must go not only to the further education institutions and business, but to the coalition Government. Of course, there is more...
Lucy Frazer: Did the hon. Gentleman not hear the Secretary of State say that the definition of coasting would be based on pupil performance data?
Lucy Frazer: I have listened with admiration to many of the maiden speeches made by hon. Members on both sides of this House and to the speeches of many new Members. Clearly, we have a breadth of experience in the education sector in this new Parliament, and that is so important. There can be nothing controversial about a desire to give our children the best start in life, whatever their background and...
Lucy Frazer: I welcome the extensive efforts that the Chancellor has outlined for protecting the British public. One of the measures he mentioned was that UK Government payments would still be made, including state pensions. If that money is being sent to Greek banks, is he taking steps to confirm that it will be ring-fenced so that, in the event of the insolvency of any Greek banks, it will not be lost...
Lucy Frazer: In later life, one of the issues is child rearing. Does the hon. Lady agree that what the coalition Government did in bringing in shared parental leave will help ease that burden and enable more women to be equal partners in the workplace?
Lucy Frazer: Does the hon. Lady accept that in my constituency the number of jobs has increased since 2010 and that unemployment is down? The people behind those statistics are individuals. Does she accept that they are individuals the coalition Government helped to get into work and get paid to support their families?
Lucy Frazer: It is an honour to speak after the hon. Member for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk (Calum Kerr), who spoke eloquently. I was particularly interested to hear how his constituency is similar to mine and faces many of the same issues—it is a rural constituency where rural broadband and transport are key issues. I was also interested and honoured to speak after the hon. Member for...
Lucy Frazer: In a global economy, where companies can invest in any country they choose and base their operations anywhere around the globe, it is absolutely essential that we get companies to invest in our country. We are ensuring that that happens by setting a competitive rate of corporation tax.
Lucy Frazer: I am very grateful to my hon. Friend for his intervention. Investment in our country is growing, which is why we have an increase in revenues. For all three reasons, this is a Conservative Budget that is a Budget for all. It is founded on principles that should command cross-party support.
Lucy Frazer: What steps his Department is taking to improve the condition of roads.
Lucy Frazer: In the light of the growth around Cambridge, does the Minister agree that it is time to upgrade the A10 north of Cambridge towards Ely?
Lucy Frazer: It is important to not only increase the number of teachers but improve the quality of education. What steps is the Secretary of State taking to ensure that students get the best possible education from our teachers?
Lucy Frazer: Does the Chancellor agree that the national living wage will not only improve the lives of working people on lower incomes but will improve the gender pay gap, because it is often women who are the worst paid?
Lucy Frazer: There are two questions we ought to consider when thinking about passing this Finance Bill: first, if now is not the right time to balance the books, when is; and, secondly, is it right that our laws should ensure that it pays to work and that work pays? Let me turn to the first question. Our GDP grew by 2.6% in 2014 and our economy is now the fastest growing in the western world. We have...
Lucy Frazer: I will.
Lucy Frazer: What is absolutely essential is that we have a strong economy, because through a strong economy we can build up business. Looking at one isolated country is not a great example—consider what is happening in Greece, which has not balanced its books and has a crippling economy. Balancing the books is absolutely right.
Lucy Frazer: I have already taken one intervention from the hon. Gentleman, so I will carry on. The question arises: what are the Opposition really waiting for before balancing our nation’s books? This Budget helps make work pay for the poorest in society and encourages those who do not have a job to get one. It seeks to ensure that we build a society in which work is rewarded.
Lucy Frazer: It is interesting that the Opposition were pushing—