A few weeks ago I went to Davos in Switzerland for the World Economic Forum. It was my first time there but the huge concentration of world business leaders made it so important to go as Chancellor and talk up UK business. 

During a packed diary full of meetings with CEOs of companies from the likes of Microsoft and Open AI to Moderna and KPMG the message from them was clear: the UK is somewhere they want to invest in. 

And you can already see it is happening. The UK has had more international investments for new projects than Germany and France put together over the past 20 years. We became the country with the second highest foreign direct investment in 2021 and 2022 – behind only the USA. 

Our tech sector is one we should be particularly proud of. We are without a doubt Europe’s Silicon Valley: our tech industry is worth twice as much as anywhere else on the continent and we are the third largest in the world. 

When I was in Davos, Google announced a $1 billion investment into a new data centre in Hertfordshire. That comes on top of Microsoft’s commitment in November to invest £2.5 billion to expand its AI infrastructure in the UK  over the next three years. 

We have a plan to keep this going. To boost productivity, I announced in the Autumn Statement that I was making ‘full expensing’ permanent. That means businesses will be able to reduce their tax bill by 25 per cent of everything they invest into equipment, machinery, IT, and tools for workers. As a result, we have the most generous business tax allowance in the OECD.

To boost our workforce, I announced the largest expansion to childcare in our history in last year’s Budget. We have also cut National Insurance by two per cent, which will save the average worker £450 per year and the OBR said would fill 10 per cent of vacancies. That cut came in this month, so 27 million workers across the country will have seen it reflected in their last payslips. 

Keeping that going means ensuring we remain global leaders in the sectors that will grow fastest this century, including technology but also green industries, life sciences, the creative sector, and advanced manufacturing. 

Moreover, looking at the economies in North America and Asia which are the most dynamic and growing the fastest, it is clear that they tend to be places with lower taxes. 

Having suffered a pandemic and an energy shock caused by the war in Ukraine, we provided generous support which of course we have had to pay for – I have always been open about that. 

But inflation has more than halved from its peak of 11.1 per cent, and our economy has turned a corner. We have grown faster than any other major European economy since 2010 so for people across Surrey there is much to look forward to.