Today the Chancellor George Osborne delivered the first Conservative majority Budget for nearly 2 decades.
“The test for this Budget was whether it supported working families and protected the vulnerable whilst building a more productive economy to pay down the deficit and create more jobs. Instead it has hit working families and offers nothing to boost the economy in the North.
“The increase in the personal tax allowance and a higher minimum wage is welcome support for the low paid, but cuts to tax credits will have a huge impact on low income and working families in Teesside. The Chancellor’s ‘living wage’ of £7.20 is below the £7.85 that experts calculate is needed to meet the cost of living – after his announced tax credit cuts it would need to be even higher to enable families in Redcar to get by. He is giving with one hand and then taking more away with the other.
“Public sector workers who have already had to deal with 5 years of redundancies and pay freezes face another 5 years of the same and far from encouraging aspiration, scrapping university grants for students from low incomes families will saddle the next generation with even more debt.
“The deficit does need to be paid down but it can be done in a much better way than hitting people who are working hard to support their families.
“The Budget also needed to tackle Britain’s productivity problem with delivery on infrastructure and investing in a skilled workforce with more high quality training and apprenticeships. It failed on that too. The government’s commitment to the Northern Powerhouse is in doubt after it paused rail electrification in the North. The only thing this Budget has to offer our region was changing the name of the A1!
“All the government has to offer our region is empty promises on devolution and making life harder for low paid families.”