This budget does not address the problems created by seven years of Tory failure. There were no proposals in the budget to deal with the living standards crisis and it doesn’t do anything to build a fair economy for all.
Among the proposals the government announced, many hardworking people in Heywood and Middleton will be especially hit by the Tories' plan to increase Class 4 National Insurance for the self-employed, at a time when many families are already only just about managing. The fact that the Prime Minister has now been forced to announce that the increase will be pushed back to the autumn shows the government are in complete disarray and this will do nothing to help give certainty and security to working people.
Any rise in the main rate of Class 4 NICs will be a break of the Tories' 2015 manifesto promise not to raise National Insurance, and at the same time the Tories are going ahead with tax giveaways to the super rich and private corporations. Our plumbers, electricians, childminders and bricklayers should not be made to bear the cost of Tory failure.
Our health and social care services continue to face a serious crisis. The £2billion announced for social care may appear like a step in the right direction but the system needs it now, not spread over three years as the government intends, and it is well short of the £4.6billion shortfall in social care funding in the last parliament.
As we mark International Women's Day this week, it is a sad fact that it is women who are bearing the brunt of Tory austerity: since 2010, 86 per cent of the Tories’ net savings to the Treasury through tax and benefit measures will have come from women. Nothing in this budget will reverse that trend, and in yet another example of women being unfairly hit by this government the Chancellor has once again failed to address the hardship caused to millions of women by poorly handled changes to the state pension age.
I was proud to join campaigners from the Waspi (Women Against State Pension Inequality campaign) movement outside parliament after the budget announcement (pictured), and I know they will continue to fight to make the government listen. The Waspi campaigners and the millions of women affected will continue to have my full support.
This government have presided over the slowest economic recovery since the 1920s and it is working people who are suffering because of the Tories’ economic failure, with a squeeze to their living standards and the undermining of the public services they rely on. Sadly, this budget does nothing to address these issues and will in fact make life even more difficult for many working people in Heywood and Middleton.