Responding to Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget today Labour have highlighted the lack of measures to protect low income families and those struggling with the cost of living in London.
Labour described the Chancellor’s Budget as “typically misleading – giving with one hand while taking away much more with the other.” Labour point to evidence which shows that the average working family £1,600 worse off since the Coalition came to power, a large part of this due to the rise in VAT.
Putting forward an alternative Budget plan, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls said there were clear policies which a Labour Government would introduce to help tackle the cost of living crisis:
- Freeze energy bills until 2017 and reform the energy market to stop customers being ripped off
- Cut taxes for 24 million working people on middle and low incomes with a lower 10p starting rate of income tax
- Make work pay by expanding free childcare to 25 hours a week for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds
- Put young people back to work, with a job the young unemployed have to take – paid for by a tax on bank bonuses
- Get 200,000 homes built a year by 2020 and cut business rates for small firms
- Balance the books in a fairer way by reversing the £3 billion tax cut for people earning over £150,000
The Budget also revealed further cuts for local government in coming years despite Council’s like Tower Hamlets already being hit with cuts of up to 25%.
Labour’s finance spokesperson, Cllr Carlo Gibbs, said:
“This Conservative Budget is typically misleading – giving with one hand while taking away much more with the other. Whilst a Labour Government would prioritise things which would help people deal with the cost of living crisis, the Coalition is focusing on a tax cut for millionaires. That tells you everything you need to know.”
Labour’s candidate for Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, said:
“The Tories have apparently recognised that ordinary people are finding life tough but have done nothing to seriously address this. With massive spending cuts affecting the services needed by local people still to come they continue to head in the wrong direction.”
Labour MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, Rushanara Ali, said:
“Yet again we’ve seen the Chancellor offer hollow words. Yet again he’s boasting about cuts during his dangerously uneven recovery. Instead, he should have addressed head-on David Cameron's cost of living crisis which is punishing vulnerable people. With almost a million young people unemployed, and child poverty set to increase by hundreds of thousands and among the highest in Tower Hamlets, it’s clear that, now more than ever, we need a Labour government in 2015.”