Yesterday the Chancellor Phillip Hammond delivered his first budget. This is a budget that does not address the problems created by seven years of Tory failure. There was nothing to deal with the living standards 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 fair economy for all.
While doing nothing to fix the crisis in the NHS, Philip Hammond has used his first Budget to continue tax giveaways for those at the top, while hitting self-employed workers on low and middle earners for £2 billion.
After years of cuts disproportionately affecting women, this Budget did nothing to address that inequality. This is a budget built on unfairness and the people of East Hull will be left cold by spreadsheet Phil’s continuation of Tory austerity.
In the 2015 manifesto, the Tories promised “no increases in National Insurance contributions”. Yesterday Phillip Hammond broke that promise with an unprecedented attack on the self-employed. These people who are the backbone of our economy will now be clobbered with a bill of an extra £350 per year for those who are on average earnings.
The Tories have tried to spin this change as a matter of fairness but their words will ring hollow to hard pressed workers who have seen their standard of living fall as pressures on wages start to bite.
The budget also showed the Government’s ideological approach to education with over £1bn given to new ‘free schools’ whilst the rest of the schools in the country get just £260m between them. Many of these new free schools will be selective, therefore introducing the first new grammars in around 30 years. This will do nothing for the educational attainment of children in East Hull whose resources are already stretched and who are receiving no new money.
On top of all this the Local Government budget is set to decrease nationally by over 20% from £8.2bn to £5.5bn by 2019. This will pile even more misery on Hull City Council which has already had its budget slashed by around £130m since 2010.
This government has failed the people of East Hull. Real pay is still lower than before the financial crash and the so called ‘National Living Wage’ has been downgraded before it has even had the chance to be implemented. Labour has called for a ‘real living wage’ of £10 per hour that would mean a decent pay rise for millions.
The Government injection of cash for social care will not touch the sides of what is needed. The Tories, in coalition with the Lib Dems cut funding for social care by £4.6bn in the last parliament and there is expected to be a shortfall of £13bn by 2020. This sticking plaster approach from the Tories ignores the consequences of failing to act and surely puts those in need of care at great risk.
Hammond’s first budget is built on unfairness and failure. It is working people- with a squeeze to their living standards and the undermining of the public services they rely on-that suffer because of the Tories’ economic failure. Sluggish growth, soaring debt and stagnating pay: that’s the true legacy of seven years of Tory failure.