Brooks Newmark welcomes the growth in the economy and the creation of 400,000 new businesses since 2010. He also welcomes Braintree district council’s savings enabling the council to give concessions to small businesses coming to the town.
Mr Brooks Newmark (Braintree) (Con): I am interested in the hon. Gentleman’s analysis. If the country has been flatlining, can he explain why 400,000 new businesses have set up since 2010?
Toby Perkins: The important question is, how many of those businesses have gone under? In every recession, large numbers of people are unable to find a job, and they go on to set up their own businesses. I set up a business under similar circumstances—desperation is a pretty decent motive for setting up a business. The reality is that we have had three years of a flatlining economy and difficult circumstances. The hon. Gentleman might not be able to understand that, but the people in my community certainly do.
Mr Newmark: I just want to help the hon. Gentleman. Not only did the International Monetary Fund establish that we have the fastest growth of any major economy, but we have created 400,000 jobs. If we have failed so much, why is it that we have created 1.1 million net new jobs?
Toby Perkins: Once again, we hear from Conservative Members who think that it is a success if people are in work but in poverty. I had someone in my constituency surgery just two weeks ago who is doing three of the jobs that have been created and he still cannot afford to pay the mortgage—that is the reality of the recovery that they are delivering. He might sit there and tell his constituents, “Don’t worry, trust me, I’ve seen the figures and everything is getting better,” but people look in their wallets at the end of the month and know that in 40 out of the past 41 months wages have gone up by less than the costs that they face. That is the reality of the recovery that his party is delivering.
Mr Newmark: Will my hon. Friend join me in congratulating Braintree district council on using the savings it has made to put aside £100,000 to give concessions to small businesses that want to come to the town or fill empty shops?
Brandon Lewis: My hon. Friend makes an excellent point, and I look forward to visiting Braintree this weekend for small business Saturday. He gives a good example of an area that has used its powers to do the right thing for local businesses, embracing some of the work through its Portas pilot and even going further. I congratulate Braintree district council and look forward to seeing in practice the excellent work it has done to bring down car parking charges for the benefit of local residents.