A budget built on unfairness

Labour has responded to the Chancellor’s Spring Budget Statement presented in Parliament today stating the budget fails to address the challenges facing the country.

Overall growth has been revised down in 2018, 2019 and 2020 compared to the Autumn Statement.

There was nothing in the government’s statement to deal with the cost of living crisis, it won’t solve the state of emergency in our NHS and social care system, and it doesn’t do enough to build a fairer economy for all.

The budget failed to deal with the cost of living affecting so many people in the country:

  • real pay is still lower than before the crash with the Institute for Fiscal Studies saying “one cannot describe how dreadful that is”, and too many jobs are now insecure
  • the National Living Wage has been revised down again, in 2020. It is forecast not to hit the £9 promised by the Tories, let alone match Labour’s plan for a £10 an hour Real Living Wage
  • six million people earn less than the living wage, and four million children are in poverty – two-thirds of them in households in which at least one parent works uncertain hours.

The budget also failed to address the crisis we see in the NHS and social care service.

Labour has demanded extra funding for social care yet the government’s announcement today doesn’t make up for the fact that they have cut £4.6bn from social care in the last parliament. As the Kings Fund says, the country needs at least a £2bn injection now to stabilise social care not £2bn spread over three years.

On the NHS, there is no money to deal with the crisis facing the nation’s hospitals. The government has promised a small amount of capital spend which doesn’t compensate for the fact that in the Autumn Statement last year they cut £1.2bn from capital. The NHS is still facing capital spending cuts across the Parliament.

There is a shortfall of £5bn in NHS maintenance which hasn’t even been addressed. What they have announced today is capital spend for A&Es next winter. This simply isn’t good enough.

With other forecasts revisited, average earnings have been revised down next year and every remaining year of the Parliament.

Cllr Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth’s Labour Leader, said:

“The Chancellor has broken his party’s manifesto pledge and chosen to hit the self-employed. These jobs are often the most precarious. Over 2.5 million people will end up paying more in national insurance as a result of these Tory plans.

With councils facing an overall social care funding gap of £5.8 billion by 2020, no where near enough is being done to tackle the crisis in our care services. Short-term pressures remain and the challenge of finding a long-term solution to the social care crisis is far from over.

The government has also failed to address the unfair challenges our country and city face. I wanted to see action to help people with everyday living costs that many households are now facing. I wanted to see help for people in Portsmouth who are working hard but struggling to make ends meet.

Sadly this government’s budget is a budget built on unfairness”.

 

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