The Budget

 At the time of the general election, it was well known that, if there was a change in government, there would be an emergency budget. This has now been delivered.

It was also well known that the economic forecasts were grim and that there would have to be a tough assessment of every aspect of our national finances, both public and private.

Very few areas could be considered as sacrosanct.

When the Chancellor of the Exchequer stood up in the Commons on 22 June, he had to tell it how it was. I think my constituents will appreciate that because it is stark reality that one in every four pounds we spend is being borrowed.

The task of scrutinising the budgets of government departments is already under way and so it is also with our local government authorities.

We live in an area of relative prosperity but every Member of Parliament is aware, not least at every constituency advice surgery, that we have to look after the least well-off. It is important to be fair to those on the lowest incomes and also to our pensioners.

The economic deficit is such that everyone is going to face some of the unpleasant consequences. That includes tax rises. It would be unfair and unrealistic to say otherwise. By facing up to the reality of the situation, though, I hope that we can also inspire some much-needed optimism.

We require economic growth to create jobs and opportunities for everybody, to get enterprise flourishing again and to pave the way back to national prosperity.