Another Tory Budget has come and gone and another opportunity for improving the lives of millions of ordinary people has been missed, writes Gloria De Piero MP.
Prior to the Chancellor’s speech, the headlines looked good, proudly declaring the end of austerity.
However the reality is that austerity is far from over for many people.
The truth is that so many of the cash ‘windfalls’ announced in the Budget, do not even begin to make up for the vast amounts of money stripped from services in eight years of austerity.
The Chancellor announced £400 million extra for schools in this financial year, averaging out at just £10,000 per primary school and £50,000 per secondary school.
That’s after school funding has been cut by eight per cent per pupil in real terms since 2010.
Local councils are facing a funding gap of £7.8 billion by 2025 and are being cut by £1.3 billion next year.
But apart from money for fixing pot holes, their needs were largely ignored.
Police forces were also neglected, with not a penny for neighbourhood policing even though 21,000 police have been cut nationwide and violent crime is on the rise.
Much has been made of the rise in the income tax personal allowance to £12,500 and the higher rate taxpayers’ threshold to £50,000, one year earlier than planned.
In the face of a continuing freeze in benefits, it was wrong for the Government to bring forward the raising of the Higher Rate Threshold.
However this was the only item in the Budget that will give low and medium earners more money in their pockets, so Labour has not opposed it.
Labour favours a progressive tax system that taxes the genuinely wealthy more than the rest.
Big business should also be paying its fair share of tax.
Instead, the Tories will have handed out £110 billion in corporate tax giveaways by the end of this Parliament.
Labour would crack down on tax avoidance and evasion. Choosing tax giveaways for the few over public services is unjust and irresponsible.