The House returned briefly on Wednesday 21 September before conference recess and following the death of Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 8 September. On this day, along with many other colleagues, I retook the oath.
On Thursday, the main business in the Chamber took the form of a general debate on Ukraine, where I made an intervention calling on the UK Government to prioritise atrocity prevention and make it the responsibility of the National Security Secretariat at the heart of government. You can read a transcript of my intervention in Hansard, or watch it on ParliamentTV.
Earlier in the day, during weekly Business Questions, I was delighted to invite the new Leader of the House to join me in congratulating Blantyre teen Jacob Naismith on yet another historic victory in his boxing career. You can read a transcript of my question, and the Leader’s response in Hansard, or watch it on ParliamentTV.
By far the biggest order of business came on Friday, when the newly appointed Chancellor came to the Chamber to present his Plan for Growth, or ‘mini-Budget’ as it was dubbed by the media. Here, the Chancellor made a raft of fiscal announcements, cancelling the National Insurance hike and the planned increase to corporation tax, removing the caps on bankers’ bonuses, the removal of the highest threshold for income tax, and a huge rise in government borrowing amongst many other things. If you would like to read more about the content of the statement, the House of Commons Library have prepared a publicly available briefing here.
The expected contents of the Budget had already faced significant backlash after the Chancellor refused to publish analysis by the Office of Budget Responsibility, which would usually accompany large-scale fiscal announcements like this one. Since the announcement, the value of sterling against the dollar has dropped to historic levels, as the financial market lost confidence in the UK economy.
Following the statement, I had the opportunity to highlight the plight of a local business in the constituency, after they had contacted me the day before explaining that they were ineligible for the business energy cost scheme. Their supplier had gone bust earlier this year, and they had renewed their energy contract one day after the scheme’s cut-off date. I wrote to the Chancellor later that very day to follow up on my question, which you can read in Hansard, or watch on ParliamentTV.