BUDGET Day is always the biggest day in any Chancellor’s calendar and this Wednesday was no exception.

It started at 8.30am with a special Cabinet meeting to brief my ministerial colleagues on the main elements of my speech I would give to the House of Commons.

Then, with my Treasury minister colleagues, we stepped outside No 11 into Downing Street to do the media photo call with the famous red box.

Next was the short trip to my office in the House of Commons for 45 minutes of final preparation – I am a firm believer that practice makes perfect.

Before going into the Chamber for Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) at midday, I had my usual Sprite and Twix to keep my sugar levels up – it definitely helps me on a big Parliamentary occasion like this! And then into the Commons chamber to sit alongside the Prime Minister to deliver our plan to build a stronger economy for the British people.

Measures that will be particularly important for our area include the help for our High Streets and the hospitality sector, our schools and service veterans.

All Government departments will see their overall spending increase in real terms – including the Department for Education which means an increase in schools spending of £4.7bn by 2024/5, more money for childcare providers and 30,000 extra places for special needs pupils.

Next year eligible businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will have their business rates cut by half. With other rate reliefs 90 per cent of businesses in these sectors – shops, pubs, cinemas, restaurants, hotels, theatres, and gyms among them – will benefit.

Pubs are a cornerstone of communities and I wanted to help them. In early 2023 the tax on draught beer or cider served in our local pubs and bars will be cut by five per cent which equates to about 3p a pint. I also instituted a radical overhaul of alcohol duties to make them fairer, simpler and healthier. To put it simply, the stronger the drink the higher the tax rate. There will be some increases, but many drinks such as rose and sparkling wine, fruit ciders, and lower strength beers will see a rate cut.

I also want to flag a comparatively small measure which I hope will make a big difference to the lives of servicemen and women who have been physically or mentally injured. £5m has been allocated in 2022/3 for research into new surgery techniques for amputees with blast injuries; new treatments for mental health issues like PTSD and new technology to enable the wounded, injured and sick to rebuild their lives. I think it’s the right thing for the government to do, to help those who have selflessly served our country.

After listening to the opening of the Budget debate I left the Commons chamber to visit a brewery with the Prime Minister to highlight the changes to alcohol taxation.

It was then back to the House to talk to backbench MPs – the 1922 Committee – something every Conservative Chancellor does after delivering a Budget. And then, as I wrote this column, I was on a train to Bury for an early Thursday morning start. I visited the town’s famous market which has benefited from the Government’s Levelling Up fund to see the improvements planned there and appear on the early morning TV and radio bulletins.

It was certainly a very long day, but also a privilege to deliver the Government’s economic plan to invest in public services and drive growth while keeping the nation’s finances on a sustainable path.