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Sir John Redwood is MP for Wokingham, and is a former Secretary of State for Wales.

I am impatient to see the Government use the new powers and freedoms we enjoy as an independent country. It is true they still need to extend those full freedoms to Northern Ireland and  the fishing industry, but I am told that Lord Frost is on the case.

So far the official machine has seemed keen to stick with many old laws, taxes and requirements rolled over from our EU days, and some Ministers are finding it difficult to push through the changes that we need. Whilst we can claim to be an independent country again, it is as if we were driving around the world under L plates. We nervously look to see if we are allowed a view or a law of our own as if we were still dependent on the EU for an answer.

I was pleased in to see that the Chancellor strove in the Budget to make some changes which he could not have made were we still in the EU . It is even more heartening to see Labour, the solid base of Remain for so many years after the referendum, pressing for the abolition of VAT on fuel, which would have been illegal whilst still in the Union.

The Chancellor has promised us tax changes and rule changes for our merchant shipping fleet. It will require substantial changes to grow it again. It is a good aim to have, since our merchant marine atrophied under EU laws and taxes. He also made some changes to alcohol duties which he said needed our new freedoms.

For all its promise, the Budget still left many low hanging fruits untouched. Why was there no move on the eve of COP26 to take VAT off green products such as insulation materials, boiler controls and various new energy devices? Why was there no reduction in VAT on fuel to offset some of the loss of spending power experienced by families as fuel bills rise? Why aren’t the freeports up and running, with a good range of tax incentives and easier administrative burdens, whatever the EU rules say? Why has the Ports Directive, opposed by the UK Government and industry, not been repealed?

The Treasury worked hard to secure the retention of a  Maastricht-style austerity economic policy framework, whilst tweaking the language to look a bit different. It is clearly wedded to the idea that we need to conduct policy based around the need to keep the budget deficit to three per cent – faithfully encrusted back into our own framework – with state debt coming down as a percentage of GDP. This is presumably because it is still above the magic 60 per cent figure of the EU Treaty.

This guidance has never worked in the past, with Chancellors making bad calls in raising taxes to keep below the targets only to find the economy grows too slowly, and they do not hit the targets anyway. Labour, and then George Osborne, had to report a failure to stick to targets. The OBR makes it more difficult to make sensible decisions by showing how it is almost impossible to predict the deficit accurately, since it is the difference between two much larger numbers.

We should have a new UK framework for economic policy based around two requirements. The existing two per cent inflation target needs to be reinforced by fiscal as well as monetary policy. There should be a complementary growth target, to drive government departments to take actions that will promote more UK activity and jobs.

The Energy and Business department still seems to be striving to implement the EU dream of linking us firmly into a common energy policy for the whole EU and the UK. Its answer to the obvious shortage of electricity and gas in the UK is to put in more interconnectors and pipes to make us import dependent. This weakens our national security, and exposes us to having to buy more at wildly fluctuating spot market prices instead of securing long term average price contracts from reliable home production. It denies us the extra jobs and investment a home-grown solution would afford.

The Agriculture and Environment department seems to want to spend our newly-freed subsidy budgets on wilding and ripping farming out of our countryside, whilst our EU competitors use more of their subsidies to promote EU grown food. The UK has lost a lot of market share in temperate food at home over our long years in the unhelpful Common Agricultural policy. It is surely time to reverse that trend, and get back up to the levels of self -ufficiency we enjoyed during the 1960s before we joined. Let’s spend more of the subsidy on promoting new and better methods of agriculture, putting in the capacity to grow our own fruit and vegetables.

I am not surprised inflation has picked up. I never understood why the OBR thought it would remain below target this year and next. I supported the vigorous response of the Bank of England to offset lockdown, but do not support its continued money creation and bond buying now that we are into recovery.

Nor do I think that it a good idea to threaten the economy with rate rises so soon into recovery, whilst they are still bond buying to keep longer term rates low. The Government can do more to tackle inflation by promoting the extra capacity in shortage areas through a mixture of tax incentives, licensing action, planning and other permissions, training programmes and the rest.

Inflation will only become a lasting problem if the Government allows a wage/price spiral to get underway. I am all in favour of better pay for people in public service, especially those on low pay, but also in favour of working smarter so the extra pay is a reward for contributing to more service or output. The digital and remote working revolutions allow considerable scope for increased productivity and better working conditions.

The Treasury has to return to its day job of ensuring value for money from public spending. It needs to challenge past initiatives and budget headings to see if they are still needed, and to tease out how new money will be committed in ways that do good and cut costs where possible. The public sector needs to concentrate more on outputs than inputs, and assess it success by the volume and quality of service it delivers.

The Government is right to allow people in low paid jobs to keep more of their Universal Credit, and right to keep moving low pay up. It needs to review benefit payments to EU citizens who qualified when they lived here under freedom of movement, as there are rumours that the UK is sending benefit payments to EU citizens who have returned home. That makes no sense.

It also needs to have more success ending the vile trade of the people smugglers risking lives across the Channel. We run a National Health Service, not a World Health Service, so we should ensure that foreign visitors are asked to pay for treatment while they are here. Getting more control over our public accounts is a good thing to do and requires many patient actions to bring the outturn into line with the intention of policy.