Commenting on George Osborne’s 8th Budget statement today, Labour MP for Redcar, Anna Turley said:
“This year’s Budget was designed to raise George Osborne’s stock with the Tory MPs he hopes will make him the next Conservative leader. But it was paper thin and showed the cost of six years of his economic failure.
Shockingly, growth forecasts have been revised down again, deficit targets have been missed, and government debt has skyrocketed from £960 billion to £1.5 trillion under his watch.
Investment is falling and productivity, which is crucial to delivering rising living standards, has stagnated. On top of that, wages are growing at the slowest rate in a century which means more families struggling to make ends meet.
Instead of tackling these problems, the Chancellor focused on headline grabbing policies like increasing the 40p tax rate to boost his stock with the Tory electorate. But his tax changes are going to see the poorest see no gain while the richest 10% will be £200 better off.
There is nothing for Redcar, or Teesside. I wanted to finally see action today from the Chancellor to support manufacturing and industry and deliver more skilled jobs but there was nothing. There were generous cuts to business rates for small businesses and stamp duty on commercial properties but the cost will fall on local government whose budgets have already been decimated, so our local services will be cut even further. The tax cuts for North Sea oil and gas also come too late to stem the tide of declining profits and lost jobs.
Moreover, in National Apprenticeship Week, there was hardly a mention of apprenticeships, technical or vocational skills which are vital for the growth of industry. A Chancellor serious about strengthening Britain would be investing in skills, infrastructure and new technology instead of prioritising short term political interests.
There were some flashy infrastructure announcements such as HS3 and northern motorway upgrades. Yet none of this came north of Leeds, and once again the Northern Powerhouse is exposed as an empty, meaningless slogan. As the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said today, the Chancellor has to stop just putting a high-vis jacket and helmet on and actually start delivering on the infrastructure we need. The Chancellor promised upgrades to the A66 and the A19 but warm words alone will not deliver these improved transport links.
I do welcome some of the measures such as the sugar levy on fizzy drinks which will help tackle the travesty of childhood obesity, and the increase in the personal tax allowance will also take more lower earners out of tax. At the same time, the Chancellor was able to find money for giveaways for the wealthy but not to fund the dignity of disabled people who are facing cuts of up to £150 a week in support.
Ultimately, people in Redcar & Cleveland who have borne the brunt of Conservative policies over the last 6 years will draw no comfort from the Chancellor’s lame effort today.”