Anne Main welcomes Budget measures on stamp duty and apprenticeships

22nd November 2017

Speaking in the Budget debate, Anne Main welcomes measures on stamp duty and apprenticeships.

I understand the hon. Lady’s interpretation of the report and her concern about it, but in areas such as St Albans where the average house price is more than £500,000, young people were helped on to the housing ladder by the previous Chancellor, and the present Chancellor will be helping young people to save some more of their money and put it towards buying their homes. That will be welcomed by many areas with high house prices. Surely the hon. Lady accepts that the stamp duty measure is welcome.

I am not making my own forecasts; I am taking those of the Office for Budget Responsibility. What people in St Albans, Mid Bedfordshire and Leeds West want is affordable housing and the ability to get on to the housing ladder, and that requires stable house prices and an increase in housing supply. According to the OBR, however, there will be no improvement in supply on the basis of the measures announced today, and house prices will be 0.3% higher than they would otherwise have been, so the measures will not have the desired effect. I understand that the hon. Lady wants her constituents to have those opportunities, but it does not sound as though her Chancellor’s Budget will enable them to do so. In fact, I think it will have the opposite effect.

 

I thank my right hon. Friend for building on the apprenticeships scheme that this Government have been championing. They are doing such a good job of getting young people into learning those skills through a different route.

Yes, indeed. I hope that the public sector, as well as the private sector, takes that fully on board, because the Government and local government, with representations and leadership from a range of parties in this House, have a great opportunity to do more to promote, encourage and mentor. As the Chancellor has indicated, we are going to face a major revolution in robots, artificial intelligence and all kinds of applications of the digital economy. Great digital companies are making huge changes that have a big knock-on effect for more traditional businesses. We need to put all our weight behind a Government who wish to understand that revolution and try to ensure that more people are winners from it by changing jobs and developing new skills so that their careers can respond to the huge changes under way.

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