Today, the Chancellor delivered the Government’s Spring Budget for 2021.
This comes as the UK is experiencing the worst economic downturn of any major economy over the last 12 months, unemployment is at 5% and due to rise, and the Government’s mishandling of the pandemic has resulted in the deaths of 120,000 citizens.
The country urgently needed a Budget to put the country on the road to recovery and right the wrongs of the last decade by rebuilding our economic foundations for the long term. Unfortunately, the Budget delivered today just papers over the cracks.
The Office for Budget Responsibility has today confirmed that the Conservative Government’s mismanagement has left Britain with the worst economic crisis of any major economy. Our economy was hit harder because we had longer and stricter restrictions than other countries, because the government failed to get the virus under control.
In the Chancellor’s speech today there was no plan for an NHS recovery so we can get people the health care they badly need. In fact, there was no mention of the NHS or social care.
The Chancellor spoke for nearly an hour, but there was no mention of schools or teachers, tackling crime, or restoring Britain’s high streets.
Meanwhile, we know he is freezing pay for key workers who have got us through this crisis, and he’s forcing through a council tax hike that will hit households across the country.
This Budget is a case of a Government with the wrong priorities: stamp duty cuts for second home owners and a cut to the incomes of the lowest paid, just as unemployment kicks in.
It showed that the Conservatives are happy to go back to the same insecure economy and unequal country that’s been so cruelly exposed by the virus.
A Labour Budget would have put the NHS and social care at the centre of a new settlement to build a country fit for Coronavirus heroes.
It would have had a plan to rebuild the foundations of our economy for the long term, with a focus on supporting new green jobs across the entire UK, supporting our high streets to thrive, protecting family finances and backing our key workers.
We need to learn the lessons of this pandemic, not go back to the insecurity of the past. But this is Chancellor with the wrong priorities and a Government out of touch with what this country needs.