Henry Smith is Member of Parliament for Crawley.
At the Autumn Statement in December the Chancellor re-affirmed the Government’s economic strategy - to focus on reducing the deficit, restoring stability, rebalancing the economy and equipping the UK to compete in the global race. With over one million new private sector jobs created and the deficit reduced by a quarter since the General Election, it is clear that Great Britain is on the right track.
At the same time both the Chancellor and the Prime Minister have acknowledged that restoring growth is proving to be an even tougher challenge than expected. The damage to the UK economy caused by the previous Government was deeper than anyone predicted and persistent problems in the Eurozone continue to cause us difficulties.
Businesses create growth, not governments, but governments can create the right fiscal and regulatory environment that allows business to flourish. So as the Budget approaches, it is vital that we consider what more can be done to increase competitiveness and encourage businesses to trade, invest and grow, whilst maintaining discipline in the public finances.
I believe that tackling the severe inherited levels of Air Passenger Duty (APD) offers a unique opportunity to increase UK competitiveness, reduce the cost of business travel to stimulate trade and investment, and help hard-working families who want to visit family or friends or take a well-earned holiday.