Mike Wood: As a fan of “Yes, Minister”, I shall start by congratulating the Opposition on their brave decision to choose this subject; given the Labour party’s abysmal record in this area, that is perhaps courage verging on chutzpah.
Mike Wood: Will the Secretary of State bring forward details of the package of support that will be put in place to help those workers in the Black Country affected by the collapse of Caparo, including 54 in my constituency, so that the skills can be retained within the black country engineering sector?
Sajid Javid The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills
Mike Wood: Does my hon. Friend agree that a basic test of the fairness of this package would be for its painful parts, such as the threshold reduction, not to be introduced quicker than its more positive elements, including the living wage, personal allowance increases and other benefits?
Mike Wood: It is a pleasure to be called to participate in my first Westminster Hall debate under your chairmanship, Mr Crausby. I join my right hon. and hon. Friends in congratulating Richard Burden on securing the debate on this extremely important topic. As the son of a west midlands police officer, who served for nearly 30 years in West Midlands police and before that in the Birmingham force, through the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and mid-’90s, this issue is important to me personally.
Mike Wood: Despite being diagnosed with neuromyelitis optica mid-way through her degree course, my constituent Amy Green successfully completed her course and now hopes to set up her own business. What support is available for people with disabilities who want to start their own business?
Justin Tomlinson Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Department for Work and Pensions) (Disabled People)
Mike Wood: It seems slightly rude to intrude on the private squabbles between the Labour and SNP Front Benches, but I am delighted to speak in support of the Finance Bill, which implements many of the measures in the summer Budget.
Last week’s Black Country Day celebrated our region’s industrial heritage, and the measures announced in the Budget will do much to develop the framework for
Mike Wood: Does the hon. Gentleman agree that there is a real need for greater and better capacity in vocational education for children with special educational needs, particularly for 14 to 19-year-olds?
Mike Wood: The latest Office for National Statistics figures show that disposable household income was rising more quickly in the West Midlands than anywhere else in the country. Will the Chancellor consider creating further local enterprise zones such as Waterfront Business Park in Dudley South to help create further local growth, opportunities and prosperity for my constituents?
George Osborne Chancellor of the Exchequer and First Secretary of State
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to make my maiden speech in this debate and to follow on from some exceptional maiden speeches by other hon. Members, even if they have set the bar unreasonably high.