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I said in advance of the general election that the 2010 intake of Conservative MPs would see Thatcher’s socially-mobile children of the 1980s finally arriving in Parliament.
Two fine examples of this breed made their maiden speeches on Monday.
Jackie Doyle-Price, who gained Thurrock from Labour, said that tackling the long-term culture of welfare dependency was “probably the single most important ingredient in really sorting out and fixing our broken economy”:
“The need for welfare reform was the main issue that brought me into politics as a teenager. In those days, I was living on a council estate in Sheffield. It seemed to me a real injustice that hard-working families—people working every hour to put food on the table—had no better standard of living than many households where no one was in work. The frequent lament at the working men’s club was, “Why do we bother?”
“Over time, that injustice seems to have become more and more entrenched. The way that tax and benefits interact today means that work simply does not pay for far too many households. The result is that we have a society where too many individuals do not have the self-respect or discipline that comes from work and individual responsibility, the rest of society is burdened by an ever-higher tax bill and we as a country are dependent on migrant labour to fill those jobs that simply do not pay for our workers to do. We cannot go on like this.”
“I hope that the Budget really marks the beginning of our quest truly to reform the dependency culture that exists in Britain today and to give everyone the opportunity and incentive to work. In so doing, we will not only reduce welfare bills, but increase tax receipts to the Exchequer, so that the entire nation will become better off and future Budgets will be a lot less painful than this one.”
Meanwhile, Stuart Andrew – the new MP for Pudsey – also talked about his own experience growing up on a council estate:
“I shall say a little about my background. I grew up on a council estate in a family that had very little money. I was the eldest, and even I had hand-me-downs. What helped my family and others was the ability to start a new business. I remember my father starting a small roofing company. It was not much, but it was something. It got him off the dole and it employed another person. That is the sort of wealth creation that we need in this country so that we can help the small businesses to create the wealth to improve the prospects for our future, and also to help the millions of people who have been abandoned by the Opposition on benefits. I think particularly of the young people who are out of work. Through the creation of wealth and jobs we can turn the country round and improve the prospect of helping those people.”
He went on to welcome measure sin the Budget to tackle the Government’s debt and to encourage regional growth:
“Yes, this is a difficult Budget, but these are difficult times and I am glad we have a responsible Budget, one which is sensible and is now clearly endorsed by members of the G20. The scale of our debt is truly terrifying and threatens to restrict what we will be able to do in future years. If we do not deal with the debt now, we will be wasting more than £70 billion a year on interest alone, which will threaten our household interest rates and business growth.
“I welcome the initiatives of the Chancellor for encouraging regional growth. Tax breaks for new businesses outside London and the south-east are particularly welcomed by someone who is a Yorkshire MP. I want to see our private sector grow so that we are not so dependent on the public sector. Capital investment, too, has been mentioned. I was pleased to hear about the Leeds and Liverpool railway line. I know that there are other things that we want for our city in Leeds, for which I will be pressing the Chancellor. All these will encourage enterprise.”