"Nobody starts a business with anything other than a dream of what they want to achieve. Many leave a secure job to start a job in something that they adore, to start their own business and to grow it into something that may change their lives and those of many others over the years.
"This past year, the pandemic has hit us in a way that has not so much dashed many of those dreams but paused them. The Budget has shown a deep understanding of how small businesses run, and the need to support them through furlough schemes and different initiatives that will enable them to restart and kickstart in the coming weeks and months and for the next few years so that those dreams become a reality.
"One of the truths of the past few months has been the brilliant initiative of the kickstart scheme itself. I was very fortunate recently to have a Zoom meeting with Chris Luff and Saffron from our local Watford and West Herts chamber of commerce. They put me in front of a bunch of inspirational young people who are all part of a new kickstart scheme that they are running. They told me not just about the economics and the finances, and all the stuff that we like to talk about in this place, but their dreams, how it was changing their lives, and how it was giving them hope for their futures.
"The Budget gives us the opportunity to look not just inward, but outward. I have seen the hope around education. During the past year, we have seen through such things as the Oak Academy the ability to use education to teach people not just the facts but how to inspire themselves to be better and to be different. One of the bits in the Budget that was not picked up on massively was the investment in infrastructure and skills—business skills and business leadership.
"I am sure you will be too young, Madam Deputy Speaker, to remember the adverts that used to talk about teaching the world to sing, but I think that global Britain will be able simply to teach the world. Our ability to invest in business leadership, to invest in our young people and, as we have proven in the Budget, to deliver on that means that we can export those skills around the world. We can export leadership around the world, and I am really proud that we can look on yesterday as a way to look forward. The Prime Minister gave an excellent speech on the road map to recovery, but this Budget is not just for the next six months or the next year; this is a Budget for decades to come, and I back it wholeheartedly."