Today, the Chancellor confirmed the UK economy has been hit harder by coronavirus than other big economies. We’re going through the worst downturn in the G7.
That’s down to this Conservative Government’s failure to take responsible decisions to get the economy back on its feet. It’s now clear that the British people will have to pick up the bill for his mistakes.
Buried in the small print of today’s statement is a one-billion-pound council tax bombshell that will hit people up and down the country. The Chancellor also took a sledgehammer to consumer confidence by freezing pay for police officers, firefighters and many other key workers. On top of that he ploughed on with plans to cut Universal Credit in April.
These irresponsible choices will hit people in their pockets and pull spending out of our high streets and small businesses – it’s totally irresponsible when the economy is so fragile.
The Chancellor also failed to match the ambitions of other countries by backing a strong green recovery to build it in Britain again. And his Levelling Up Fund will see money doled out to favoured MPs, not invested strategically in the communities that need it – more dodgy politics from a Government that’s learned none of the lessons of the scandal-ridden Towns Fund.
There was no clarity for businesses on what targeted support they’ll get after lockdown ends but strict restrictions continue, and no mention of how prepared his Government is for Brexit – just 40 days before the end of the transition period. The Chancellor also again refused to acknowledge that 3 million people have been excluded from existing support schemes, or put any new measures in place to help them.
And on top of all this, a broken promise to the world’s most vulnerable people. The Tories are breaking their manifesto commitment to maintain our international aid budget at 0.7% of GDP – hitting the worlds poorest at a time when they need our help most.
Today we needed action to recover jobs, retrain workers and rebuild business, with a relentless focus on jobs and growth to get the economy back on its feet. Instead, the Chancellor missed his chance to make our country the best to grow up in and the best to grow old in.