The Chancellor’s Budget this year is a shambles and once again our area is losing out.
His plan to cut disabled benefits for people who can’t use a toilet or get dressed on their own was appalling. 4,000 people across Wakefield district would have been hit.
He claimed it was to help bring borrowing down. Pull the other one, George. He’s missed all his borrowing targets time after time.
We all know that instead this was to fund tax cuts for those on £100,000 a year, and for the wealthiest people in the country. The Chancellor keeps telling us money is tight but then he manages to find billions to give away to his wealthiest friends.
Now George Osborne has been forced to back down on the cuts to disability support - and rightly so. Like many people, I argued against this plan as soon as it was announced last week. Just yesterday I challenged him face to face on the floor of the House. Finally the strong opposition from everyone has forced a change of tack.
Sadly that still doesn’t stop this being a deeply unfair Budget. Those on the highest incomes are still getting a tax cut at the same time as working parents in our area are losing tax credits and universal credit. The Chancellor hasn’t got his priorities right in the slightest.
For people around here there’s a bigger problem. We still aren’t getting enough of the quality jobs we need and local pay is still falling behind.
While Tory East Anglia and Lincolnshire seem to be driving ahead with devolution, the government wouldn’t agree to the plan put forward by our Labour council leaders to bring power and investment back to West Yorkshire. But, despite this, I’m glad the government is finally doing something to help small businesses with business rates - we’ve been calling for that for a while. But it’s not enough to boost local jobs or get the investment we need.
I think we need a serious plan for jobs and skills in Yorkshire to boost our local economy.
But it also has to be fair, so everyone has a chance to get on and no one is left behind. Here in the Yorkshire coalfields we’ve suffered enough at the hands of bad economic planning and under by the Tories.
Sadly, but unsurprisingly, the Chancellor did not deliver the Budget we in the Five Towns so desperately need.