Margaret Greenwood MP has said that the Chancellor’s Budget failed to tackle the growing cost of living crisis and climate emergency and that it failed to provide local authorities with the funding they need to deliver vital public services.
The Wirral West MP was speaking at the end of four days of debate in Parliament on the Budget which was delivered by Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak.
She said that the Chancellor could have kept the £20 Universal Credit uplift in place – a move which would have helped 6 million households across the country – but that he instead chose to give a £4 billion tax cut to banks and a £12 billion tax cut to online giants.
The Wirral West MP also criticised the Chancellor for failing to give local councils the funding that they need to deliver crucial public services after over a decade of Conservative austerity and for failing to address the urgency of the climate crisis.
The Chancellor has faced criticism for cutting taxes on domestic flights, particularly at a time when the UK is hosting the COP26 climate conference. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has estimated that this move will result in 410,000 more passenger journeys a year. Ms Greenwood described the policy as ‘astonishing’ and said that the government ‘should be showing leadership on the international stage’ when it comes to climate change.
Commenting on public services, the Wirral West MP pointed out that central government funding to Wirral Council had been cut by 85% between 2010-11 and 2019-20.
Speaking after the debate, Margaret Greenwood MP said, “This Budget was a big disappointment for the millions of people who are worried about the cost of living which the Office for Budget Responsibility has warned could rise at its fastest rate for 30 years.
“The Chancellor could have taken steps to address this, but he chose not to.
“He could have kept the £20 a-week Universal Credit in place to help 6 million struggling households across the country, and he could have increased the minimum wage to £10 an hour – something Labour committed to do by 2020 way back in 2017.
“Instead he prioritised tax cuts for banks and online giants.
“He also failed to give local councils the funding that they need.
“The Local Government Association has been very clear that the funding announced for local authorities will not help them to meet all of the extra cost and demand pressures they face just to provide services at today’s levels.
“The Association also expressed disappointment that there is no additional funding to address existing pressures on adult social care services and that public health funding has not been increased.
“As COP 26 is underway we are all aware of the climate crisis and the need for urgent action on fossil fuels.
“It is astonishing that the Chancellor has chosen to cut taxes on internal flights. This is a real insult to young people and those around the world most affected by climate change.
“The Chancellor had the opportunity to support people in the face of the cost of living crisis, to reinvigorate the public services delivered by local authorities that our communities so desperately need and to show leadership on climate change. It is immensely disappointing that he failed to do so.”
You can read Margaret Greenwood MP’s speech from the Budget debate here: https://tinyurl.com/u7znwauz