The Budget yesterday did nothing but paper over the glaring issues facing our country with insufficient policy pledges. The government continues to ignore the fact wages are falling, public services are failing and the economy is stagnating. As Jeremy Corbyn said to MPs yesterday, “the reality is, this is a government no longer fit for office”.
- No lifting of the public sector pay cap. Public sector workers’ real wages are down thousands of pounds a year compared to 2010. This is absolutely shameful and as the cost of living rises, the pay cap leaves our public servants with a real term wage cut. It is time that the Government fully fund an above inflation pay increase for all public sector workers.
- Not enough extra funding for the NHS, leaving our health service underfunded for yet another year. No mention of social care, no mention of mental health. More money is set aside for Brexit preparations than for our NHS. I thought we were promised that leaving the EU would save us money…
- Not enough action on Universal Credit. Many claimants have been waiting for six weeks for their first payment of Universal Credit, leaving the most vulnerable without benefits, without food and often at threat of eviction. Instead of pausing the roll-out of Universal Credit, the Government have only removed the seven day waiting period. It is unbelievable that the Government is still offering a desperate choice to those moving onto Universal Credit – either wait 5 weeks to receive support or take a Government loan and go further into debt. There are still too many problems with Universal Credit and the Government must pause the roll out now.
- A cut on stamp duty for first time buyers on properties under £300,000, which does nothing to fix the housing crisis. In London the average first-time buyer’s deposit is over £100, 000 – an unimaginable amount for the majority of young people. The budget does nothing to genuinely help young people across the UK get on the housing ladder. We need more affordable housing, not tax breaks which only help the well off.