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Mr. Paul Tyler (North Cornwall): It takes one to know one.

Mr. Amess: The hon. Member for North Cornwall (Mr. Tyler) says, "It takes one to know one." Perhaps I may deal with a point of order at this moment. There seems to be some row about the seating arrangements in the Chamber, and just--

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. Any points of order are for the Chair. That matter has been dealt with. I suggest that the hon. Gentleman gets on with his speech about the Budget.

Mr. Amess: With regard to the Budget, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I am very pleased to be surrounded by Conservative colleagues. I am not so pleased to be surrounded by Liberal Democrat Members. They power- share on Essex county council and on Southend-on-Sea borough council, so I have not the faintest idea why they are sitting on the Conservative side of the House. They would

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be better placed to sit with Labour Members--they have much more in common with them than with Conservative Members.

There was an air of triumphalism among new Labour Members as the Chancellor delivered his Budget statement. Their faces lit up at each new announcement. They were watching our faces and thinking that we were being caught out in a range of measures, but it was laughable to describe today's self-indulgent, patronising Budget as the people's Budget. The Labour party manifesto said:

As I look at the Labour Benches, I am not sure what Labour Members now know about ordinary families because, far from representing the working classes, it appears to me that they have much more common with the middle and upper classes. They have nothing in common with the working-class people whom they represent.

The Budget offers working people nothing. The posters that were deployed in the four-week general election campaign told us that there would be no tax rises, but, however they are dressed up, today we had 17 tax rises. Those 17 tax rises are equivalent to a 3p increase in the standard rate of taxation, so immediately new Labour Members have let their constituents down. They have broken their promises.

Of the 659 constituencies, Southend, West is 31st in terms of senior citizens. Pensioners in Southend, West have been badly let down by today's Budget. We are all on life's journey; no matter where we are on it, everyone's life is important. The fact that senior citizens are somewhat more advanced on that journey means that they deserve the same treatment as anyone else. All hon. Members will have received a brief from Help the Aged on pensions and income, health care and social care, housing standards, mobility and independence. Many new Members turned up at the tea party that Help the Aged gave us. Nothing in the Budget meets any of the points that that charity put to us just last week.

I note that the Economic Secretary is in her place. I understand that she worked for Mr. Robert Maxwell, so I am surprised at the direct attack that has been made on pension funds and pensioners today. It is bad news for my constituents in Southend, West.

We then heard about the employment programme. I accept that it will create some jobs temporarily, but the minimum wage and the social chapter will destroy jobs permanently. I dare say that we shall hear more on that issue tomorrow. The programme will result in work to welfare, not welfare to work.

In September, the leader of the Labour party said:

The present Chancellor said:

    "There is no black hole for the Labour party because we have no public spending commitments that require extra taxes."

There seemed to be no harmony on the Labour Benches today. The hon. Member for Brent, East (Mr. Livingstone), who has left his place, mentioned horrendous Budgets. Through his stewardship of the Greater London council, he is an expert in horrendous budgets. Neither he nor the hon. Member for Hackney, North and Stoke Newington (Ms Abbott) seemed to be in accord with anything that the Chancellor said today.

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Even before the Budget, the Labour party gave the game away. Its manifesto did not say that it would hand over stewardship of the economy to the Governor of the Bank of England. That says it all. If the Labour party honestly believes that the British people are daft enough to allow it to get away with pushing responsibility on to the Governor of the Bank of England, it is in for a big shock. Then to humiliate the Governor in the Chancellor's Mansion House speech, by saying that if the Governor gets the inflation forecast wrong, he must write out 100 lines and apologise to the British people, is irresponsible.

The newly elected Government will parrot for the next year or two that everything is the fault of the Conservative party over the past 18 years, but it is the newly elected Labour Government's responsibility to manage the economy well, because all the hopes and aspirations of hon. Members depend on their management of the economy.

Since 1 May, we have already had two interest rate rises, which have damaged the living standards of a range of people. They have damaged small businesses and those who pay mortgages. Today, the housing market has been further damaged by the Chancellor's announcement on MIRAS. Again, we heard further hypocrisy from the Labour party. Speaking about MIRAS, the leader of the Labour party said last year:

The cop-out from the Labour Chancellor today was that as the Conservatives had done it, it was okay for Labour to continue. That is not what the present Prime Minister said last year. The Chancellor has a short memory.

There is to be a new scheme forcing insurance companies to pay for medical services for road accident victims. That is an additional medical levy on vehicle owners. Through raised insurance premiums, all vehicle owners will be forced to pay twice for medical care. I wonder what will come next.

We heard a throw-away announcement about capital receipts. The Conservative Government said that capital receipts could not be released until local authorities had paid off their debt. No detail was given about that today. We heard about the new house building programme that everyone will apparently rejoice at, but as there has been such a furore about the green belt being destroyed in Essex, I hope that Labour county councillors there will articulate clearly where all those new houses are to be built.

I noticed two more so-called causes for joy among Labour Members. There was an announcement about the health service, which the hon. Member for Brentford and Isleworth (Mrs. Keen) touched on. Labour Members were pleased at the announcements about health spending and about education. What was announced today with regard to the health service was no more and no less than the Conservative Government were pledged to do.

When it was announced that £1.3 billion would be spent to improve the fabric of our schools, Labour Members rejoiced. However, the Chancellor said that that £1.3 billion would be spent over the lifetime of this Parliament, so about £250 million will be spent each year, which will certainly not meet the expectations of all--

Mrs. Ann Keen: Having worked in the health service for the past 20 years, I can assure the hon. Gentleman that

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the contribution is welcome. It is the first time that money is being put into patient care, rather than management bureaucracy, which far exceeds any management facility that the health service needs. At last the health service is back on track. Ask any health worker--the hon. Gentleman is looking at one.

Mr. Amess: I respect the hon. Lady's expertise with regard to the health service. However, I was not impressed when the new Secretary of State for Health wrote to hon. Members stating that the money saved through the removal of the internal market would reduce waiting lists. I do not see how that can be delivered.

I seized on the fact that for the first time we have three Ministers of State in the Department of Health. Four of the new Ministers are based in London. Unless we tackle the London problem--the hon. Lady has a vested interest in that--none of the difficulties of the health service will be sorted out.

The Budget is extremely disappointing. It is not fair to ordinary families. The British people deserve better than they got today.

9.38 pm

Ms Joan Ryan (Enfield, North): I am grateful for the opportunity to make my maiden speech in this important debate. I congratulate all hon. Members who have made their maiden speeches today, especially my hon. Friends the Members for Redditch (Jacqui Smith) and for Brentford and Isleworth (Mrs. Keen).

I congratulate the Chancellor of the Exchequer, my right hon. Friend the Member for Dunfermline, East (Mr. Brown) on his first Budget. It is, as he promised, a Budget to serve the many and not just the few. His welfare-to-work proposals are radical, far reaching and extremely welcome. They will be welcomed across Britain, and they are particularly welcome in Enfield, North.

I shall say a word about my predecessors. The House will know that my immediate predecessor was the right hon. Tim Eggar. He served Enfield, North from 1979 and served as a Government Minister continuously for 12 years. I am sure that we all wish him well in his chosen career change, working in industry and commerce.

From 1974 to 1979, Bryan Davies served as the Member for Enfield, North. He is remembered with affection as a man of integrity who worked hard for the people of Enfield, and I hope to follow his example. I have the honour to be the first woman Member to serve Enfield, North.

I shall spend a few moments, as is traditional, telling the House a little about my constituency, which is one of contrasts. It is London's most northerly constituency and is fortunate to have much designated green-belt land. The Countryside Commission has stated that the finest landscapes in the Greater London area are generally acknowledged to be those such as Enfield Chase. I readily agree with that view. I intend to work hard with local groups, notably the Enfield Preservation Society, which has done so much over the years to safeguard the nature and character of Enfield.

Enfield Chase and areas such as Forty Hill served as royal hunting grounds for over 400 years. Both Henry VIII and Elizabeth I often hunted in the area. No hunting

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takes place there now. Today, the unique characteristics of the area, and historic buildings such as Forty hall, are enjoyed by all members of the population and by many from further afield.

Enfield town is at heart a traditional English market town. Eastern Enfield, in contrast, is a much more urban scene. It is an area shaped by industry. It is the part of Enfield that gave the world such things as Belling cookers, Scrabble and the Lee Enfield rifle. The disappearance of much of east Enfield's old manufacturing industry has brought its problems and the area now has assisted area status. It is thanks to the efforts of our Labour Member of the European Parliament, Pauline Green, and the local authority, that regeneration is beginning to take place through the use of objective 2 funding and the single regeneration budget.

Ponders End may be known as the birthplace of Lord Norman Tebbit, or perhaps because Kenneth Horne and Kenneth Williams brought it to the nation's attention in their many references to it in the 1960s radio series entitled, "Round the Horne". Ponders End's chief landmark was the gasworks, and the area was perhaps thought graceless. That is no longer the case because these days it is a most salubrious place. Indeed, it is home to my constituency office. Like the rest of Enfield, North, it is populated with warm, welcoming and energetic people who have a strong sense of community. These are people and communities that I am privileged to represent.

Enfield, North has a diverse population. Diversity is evident in culture, ethnicity, language and religion. More than 30 languages are spoken by children attending schools in my constituency. Discrimination undoubtedly exists in employment opportunities, but the enterprise of Enfield residents has seen many new businesses come into being from the talents of people of all backgrounds.

I have spoken to many people in the Cypriot community, for example, who have made a significant contribution to the economy of Enfield and of north London generally.

Unemployment among some groups--notablyyouths and black and Bangladeshi groups--remains disproportionately high. The measures that my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced today will bring real hope. There will be a new future of hope for all my constituents, either as the recipients of opportunities for training and employment or as parents or grandparents, whose aspirations for their children and grandchildren will be better served by the Budget.

Enfield, North is one of the major centres of industrial activity in London. It has particular strengths, including an advantageous location, excellent communications, a manufacturing base, a reliable and skilled work force and a resilient enterprise culture with a strong small business sector. Over the past decade, however, many locally established manufacturing companies have either closed or announced major redundancies--Belling, Royal Small Arms and Ferguson, to name but a few.

Annual employment data demonstrate that in my constituency there has been a shift away from manufacturing, transport and communications into service sector industries such as financial services. Although we value and encourage those new directions, the gradually disappearing manufacturing and production base has also meant the loss of skilled apprenticeship opportunities.

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Young people in Enfield, North are keen to get on. Participation in full-time education among 16 and 17-year-olds in Enfield is slightly higher than the level for London as a whole, and significantly higher than for England as a whole. Yet some 47 per cent. of the long-term unemployed in Enfield are in the 18 to 24 category. When they complete their education, they do not have the training and employment opportunities that they deserve. We look to the Budget proposals to break that logjam.

Unemployment is one of the major sources of instability in our society. It has a very real impact on the health and welfare of individuals. It creates stress for them and their families and can lead to a wide range of problems, including debts, homelessness and family breakdown.

The new deal offered in the Budget will raise both the education and skills level of our young people and, in doing so, will not just fulfil a social need but play a key role in improving the competitiveness of the British economy and raising the long-term growth rate. The defining characteristic of this new deal is choice--choice for young people who will be offered four high-quality options--but, rightly, no fifth option of passive reliance on benefits.

Young people--indeed, the whole community--will welcome the opportunity that the welfare-to-work Budget opens up for them. Enfield, North is well placed to take advantage of those opportunities. Middlesex university and Enfield college can offer training and day release courses. Capel Manor, Greater London's only specialist college of agriculture, has an excellent record of working with the long-term unemployed and helping people back into worthwhile employment. Enfield, North contains the Lea Valley innovation centre. Its task is to tap the financial, physical and human resources of the Lea Valley to stimulate the creation and expansion of innovative technology-based small and medium enterprises.

In terms of large enterprises, it is significant that Ford announced on 12 June, after a meeting with my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, that it will invest £40 million in its plant in my constituency to provide new production facilities. I very much welcome that positive news. I also welcome Ford's commitment to back the Government's welfare-to-work programme and to seek further meetings with the Government to discuss what role it could play. Indeed, Ford already runs a scheme that takes on 100 young people each year. The welfare-to-work programme will succeed with such co-operation from the private sector.

Members of Parliament have a leadership role in their local areas to bring together the private sector, the Government and all other agencies to work towards the goal of getting long-term unemployed people off benefit and back to work. That is my primary objective in Enfield, North. Only through the partnership approach of welfare to work can a solution be found to the cycle of deprivation and welfare dependency that is so prevalent in Britain's towns and cities.

Other partners have an important contribution to make to the success of this new deal. In Enfield, they include the North London training and enterprise council and the very active and well-organised chamber of commerce.

The windfall levy is entirely fair. It is based on the fundamental principle of social justice. We have seen the size of the profits on which the tax will draw. Given how

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the tax will be used, it is wholly right and wholly justified. It is a tax which will pay for a future. It is what the British people so overwhelmingly endorsed on 1 May. It is the new Labour Government delivering on their promises.

I welcome the Budget; Enfield, North welcomes the Budget; and I commend it to the House.

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