TAMESIDE’S three MPs have delivered a withering response to Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Budget claiming it fails to address issues, both nationally and locally.
Jonathan Reynolds, who represents Stalybridge and Hyde, said: “The UK was crying out for a Budget to put us on the road to recovery, and right the wrongs of the last decade by rebuilding our economic foundations.
“What the Chancellor presented just papers over the cracks. It totally dodged many key issues, from the social care crisis, to the NHS, to anything to tackle inequality. Most of all, the Chancellor failed entirely to tackle the threat of a youth unemployment crisis.
“The Chancellor just presented a forecast for a level of unemployment that is still very high. The response just did not match the scale of the challenge. We needed to see a cast iron guarantee that another generation of young people won’t end up on the scrap heap.
“Constituents may know I’ve spent much of the last few months arguing against the Government’s previous intention to cut Universal Credit in this Budget. To do so would have been simply unthinkable, but it’s shameful that the Chancellor had to be dragged kicking and screaming to extend the £20 a week uplift.
“We are still facing unemployment at 6.5 per cent with historically low levels of out of work support. The uplift should stay until Universal Credit is replaced with a fair and functional system.”
Denton and Reddish MP Andrew Gwynne said: “We are living in extraordinary times and we needed a bold, forward-thinking Budget to support our recovery from this crisis.
“Whilst there are lots of eye-catching announcements – some of which are very welcome – the Chancellor has completely failed to meet the challenge of producing a Budget to support a long-term plan for rebuilding our economy and our country after a disastrous year.
“I welcome the extension of furlough and the business support. However, beyond freezing tax allowances, which in effect brings more people into paying tax, or paying at higher rates, there was little to explain how hundreds of billions of pounds will be paid back.
“I’ve always taken the view it should be parked and treated in the same way as Second World War debts were; paying back over generations, so not to impact on day-to-day spending on our public services, or on capital and infrastructure spending.
“The crisis has shown the terrible consequences of over a decade of the Tories slashing public services, but the Chancellor has missed an opportunity to reinvest and rebuild these services, instead focusing on some tokenistic moves that he’s spinning as “levelling up”.
“The social care crisis remains unresolved, despite countless promises from the Government that they have a plan, and our brilliant key workers will have no reward for their work keeping the country going over the past year.
“Hundreds of thousands remain excluded from any Covid support schemes and many thousands more face bankruptcy as the Chancellor refuses to properly tackle the cladding and fire safety crisis.
“Looking beyond the headlines, flashy videos and spin, this Budget was just a very expensive way of kicking the can down the road. Unfortunately, it still remains unclear what the Government’s strategy is to get our economy back on track.”
Ashton and Failsworth MP Angela Rayner added: “After the disastrous decisions made by this Government over the last year and the decade of neglect under their rule, we needed a Budget to fix the foundations of our economy, to reward our key workers, to protect the NHS and to build a more secure and prosperous economy for the future.
“Instead, we got a Budget that papered over the cracks, rather than rebuilding the foundations. We got a Budget that shows the Government doesn’t understand what went wrong in the last decade or what’s needed in the next.
“I must have missed the bit where the Chancellor announced a pay rise for health and social care workers so I suppose last year’s clapping will have to pay this year’s bills.
“Last year, Matt Hancock said he couldn’t live on statutory sick pay but Rishi Sunak announced an increase of 50p meaning a cut to sick pay in real terms. I can’t believe that we’re a year into this crisis and people are still not being supported to do the right thing when they are asked to isolate.
“We are facing the worst economic crisis of any major economy in the last 12 months. Unemployment is at five per cent – forecast to rise to 6.5 per cent – and national debt stands at over £2 trillion.
“This Budget won’t feel so good for the millions of key workers who are having their pay frozen, the businesses across my constituency swamped by debt and worrying about whether they will be able to reopen, the families paying more in council tax and the millions of people who are out of work or worried about losing their job.
“The Chancellor referred to the last 10 years of Tory rule. Look at our economy as a result of those 10 years – there are 3.6 million people in insecure work, wages have stagnated, over four million children are living in poverty, there are 100,000 unfilled posts in the NHS, and we have a social care system that has been ignored and underfunded for a decade.
“If this had been a Budget to rebuild the foundations it would have put the NHS and social care front and centre and it would have had the means to fix our broken social security system. Instead, the Chancellor has been shamed into extending the £20 uplift in Universal Credit – but only for a few months leaving the six million families relying on it with yet more uncertainty.
“My constituents have done their bit over the past year to help control the virus and now there is light at the end of the tunnel as our wonderful NHS plough ahead with the vaccine rollout.
“They deserve so much more than a quick fix Budget that does little more than paper over the cracks.”