As I write this, Jeremy Hunt has just delivered his Spring Budget, and I’ve been scrutinising the detail. The economic forecasts look promising — the country is not going into recession, our debts are falling, while inflation has reached its peak and is expected to fall sharply this year.

There was a lot in the Budget, but I want to highlight some of things that will help people in Andover and across the area. Importantly, support for energy bills will continue until July, and those with prepayment energy meters will no longer be penalised.

Fuel duty has been frozen for the 13th year running, which should save the average driver about £200 this year. And more money has been announced for potholes — Hampshire is receiving an extra £5.9m, and I look forward to working with our councils to improve our roads. 

On businesses, I was pleased to see targeted tax cuts for companies that invest in equipment and machinery — fantastic for our local manufacturing companies and growing technical and scientific base.

But the big announcement was on childcare — we’re extending the 30 hours of free childcare a week to working parents of children aged nine months to four years. This will help families significantly and will particularly encourage more women back into work. We are also making childcare funding for those on Universal Credit more generous. These are bold moves, I will campaign to do more in this area, such as smart income tax reforms, which will further help families and boost our workforce for the future.

It all adds up to the next step in our plan to get the nation back on track after the pandemic.