Budget Resolutions and Economic Situation — Amendment of the Law

The Budget builds on the Chancellor’s strong record over the past six years of restoring sanity to the public finances, rebuilding the nation’s economy and securing growth. It is a shame that the shadow Chancellor is no longer in the Chamber, but I am sure that the shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury will pass on the message that despite the shadow Chancellor’s mean-spirited comments to the Chancellor, such a feeling is not reciprocated on the Government Benches. Indeed, I am sure that I speak for all Conservative Members when I say that I hope that the shadow Chancellor will remain in his position for many years to come.

The Budget contains many measures that will benefit people and businesses in Dudley South by creating opportunities that are the hallmark of any compassionate society. There are nearly 3,000 small and medium-sized employers in Dudley South, many of which will benefit from the permanent increase in small business rate relief thresholds, as well as the increase in thresholds at the higher rate of business rates. As
the hon. Member for Coventry South (Mr Cunningham) was generous enough to acknowledge, such measures are indisputably good for small businesses. About 2,000 self-employed people in Dudley South will benefit from the abolition of class 2 national insurance contributions as part of an ongoing simplification and modernisation of the taxation system.

For me, the most significant announcement in the Budget last Wednesday was of a new enterprise zone for the Waterfront in my constituency. I had been running a campaign about that since before the general election, so I put on record my personal thanks both to the Chancellor and to the Minister for Communities and Resilience, who has responsibility for devolution, who have taken the time to meet me, to listen to the arguments for the enterprise zone and, more importantly, to understand and act on them.

The enterprise zone will create more than 4,000 net new jobs—[Interruption.] As
the hon. Member for Wolverhampton South West (Rob Marris) said, it will create significant benefits not only for Dudley borough, but for the wider region, which I happily acknowledge. It will mean a 100% business rate holiday alongside 100% capital allowances on large investment in new plant machinery, which has been extended for eight years. It is a big boost to our local economy and promises to add millions of pounds to local prosperity. I thank Dudley Council and the Black Country local enterprise partnership for all the work they did in making that possible.

The Budget is a big step forward in creating opportunities for all nations and all regions of our country. The black country is well placed to take full advantage, and I will certainly support the Budget this evening.