And now cut the fuel duty...

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No Chancellor has ever been able to produce a perfect budget that answers all needs, fulfils all desires, and keeps everyone happy, but George Osborne has offered the country a budget which is courageous overall.

Importantly, the Chancellor is persevering in trying to deal with the massive deficit inherited from the previous government. This is likely the biggest problem the country is facing today, and budget expenditure is still set to increase, albeit at a much reduced rate.

We need to remember that the top one per cent of taxpayers contribute 28 per cent of the total taxes collected. These taxpayers are highly mobile and can easily move abroad in response to changes. This is why imposing a 50p rate was resisted for so long. Britain needs to create an atmosphere which attracts business and encourages entrepreneurship.

Through taxation, these activities fund our schools, health service, police, and all the other necessaries.

I am glad the Government is working to close the intricate web of tax loopholes. These are far too complicated for ordinary small and medium-sized business to deal with and so are biased in favour of the large-scale mega-corporations.

We need to breathe life into the entire British economy, not just the City of London. I am convinced that working families are the key to the recovery. For this reason, the fuel duty increase is unwelcome. If anything, we should cut the fuel duty and thus provide immediate relief for many small businesses and working families. This underlines the desperate need to deal with the deficit, otherwise there is no way of balancing the books except through such draconian taxes.

Because we lack the public transportation abundant in London and other big cities, many of us in Lincolnshire are dependent upon our cars to get to and from work, the shops, and school. Cutting fuel duty would give families more money to spend in local businesses, to pay off debts, or to save for a rainy day – all three of which would greatly help put our country on a sound financial footing.

The massive black hole of money going into churning benefits and taxes is another problem the Chancellor is attempting to address.

Not enough is done in this country to help families to stay together. Instead of changing child benefit, as George Osbourne suggested, we should have a family tax allowance like in France. There, couples are given a tax allowance shared between themselves and their children. The income at which a French family have to start paying tax is much higher than it would be for one in Lincolnshire. Otherwise, we should leave child benefit alone.

The Government must fulfil its election pledge to recognise marriage in the tax system and end the perverse disincentives against marriage. Scientific research has consistently shown that stable, lifelong marriages are the best context for raising children in and go a long way towards preventing a wide variety of social problems further down the line.

Families are the bedrock of British society, and the Government must help families to thrive and flourish.

EDWARD LEIGH

MP for Gainsborough and Market Rasen