MY week has been dominated by preparations for the budget where I was hard at work until the early hours of Budget Day on the draft speech.
Earlier, on Tuesday I led a well-attended adjournment debate, focusing on hare-coursing, an important matter for our farming community.
This crime blights the lives of many living and working across rural Britain.
I urged the Minister to review police tactics, the sentencing regime and to take account of the wider challenges facing the countryside when he re-configures the funding formula for police service.
Budget Day itself always starts a visit to to No 11 to review the final version of the speech. Following the speech itself I then accompanied the Chancellor to interviews and a meeting with backbenchers in the Commons.
I was delighted that the Chancellor laid out the Government’s commitment to the NHS.
There is more money to fund the sustainability transformation plans (STPs) with the expectation set out that significantly more will be announced in the autumn.
He also provided additional support to fund social care but sensibly announced the need to examine why just 24 local authorities account for 50 per cent of all the delayed discharges from the NHS.
Securing good practice everywhere is as important as the cash.
The announcement around skills and training with the creation of new “T-Levels” for 16-19 year olds reflects the need to place a stronger emphasis on technical education.
The tax changes represent an adjustment to re-balance obligations to fit the modern economy. The adjustment to business rate rules for pubs are also welcome.
I returned very late to Salisbury on Wednesday to address Salisbury’s business community with a “breakfast budget briefing”. I sought to distil the previous day’s announcements into the most relevant interpretation for the constituency.
I return to Westminster today to attend the budget debate before using Friday to visit the new Chief Executive Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Trust in Chippenham.
I then meet the Police Superintendent for Salisbury before presenting prizes at a local school art competition and seeing “The Verdict” at the Salisbury Playhouse.
Saturday will be spent responding to constituents and colleagues’ budget enquiries.