Yesterday, the Chancellor presented his Budget to Parliament. Much of it was not new to us as he had spent the preceding week leaking as much of it as he possibly could. The Budget is majorly flawed and lacks any planning. There is no plan to tackle the growing cost of living crisis, there is no plan to remove the enormous tax burden they have placed on working people and businesses, and there is no plan for growth – something we desperately need after the double blow of COVID and Brexit.
The anger about the cut to Universal Credit was seen in the Budget, with the taper rate reduced (the amount of a claimant loses for each pound they earn above a set allowance), however, this alone does not come close enough to making up for the biggest ever cut to social security, tax hikes and a cost of living crisis. Campaigners have rightly warned that this provides no extra support to people who are unemployed, carers, those with young children or unable to work because of disability or illness.
It has been estimated that households will pay £3,000 more tax by 2026/27 than when Boris Johnson became Prime Minister, this is staggering, it is out of touch and does nothing to highlight regional inequalities, the housing crisis, rebuild our economy or invest in the NHS or in education.
There is also staggeringly little about protecting the environment and tackling climate change, which is shocking for a Budget that is the week before we host a global climate conference. Unsurprisingly, Boris Johnson says one thing and does the opposite. As he talks up reducing carbon emissions, the Chancellor cuts air passenger duty – it’s estimated this will create the same CO2 emissions as 2.3 million extra train journeys. I can’t imagine this has anything to do with the fact that it has emerged Boris Johnson is a frequent domestic flyer himself, racking up a £216k bill on private flights.
Labour’s alternative is clear, we’ll boost manufacturing in the UK, implement a New Deal for Working People, ensure efficient and modern public services, driving up standards in schools, hospitals, transport and workplaces. We would also tax fairly, so that the same people are not burdened more and more while huge corporations, like Amazon, are given tax cuts by the Tories.