Don't believe the hype - this Tory budget will make working families in Heywood and Middleton worse off.
The budget announced this week is an attempt to con people. Nothing more, nothing less.
George Osborne claims it is a budget for working people, and a budget that 'gives Britain a pay rise'. As is usually the case with the Conservatives, all is not as it seems.
The independent Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has looked in detail at the government's plans and has concluded that they will make more than 13 million working families worse off by an average of £260 a year. Changes to tax credits alone will cost 3 million workers £1000 a year on average.
These are huge amounts of money for working families to lose, and the so-called 'National Living Wage' proposed by the Chancellor will go nowhere near to making up the shortfall.
In fact, the living wage announcement is perhaps the Tories' biggest con. The living wage is independently calculated and at present is £7.85 an hour. Osborne says it will become law from next April at a rate of £7.20 an hour. It is obvious that what is being introduced is not the living wage but a rebranding of the minimum wage. It is nothing more than a cynical attempt to try to steal the ground on the issue of low pay from campaigners on the Left. The sheer nerve of the Tories would be impressive if it wasn't so shameful.
As well as all this, the budget announced an end to maintenance grants for students from poorer backgrounds. Young people who aspire to go to university and thousands of working families who rely on tax credits to top-up low earnings are the victims of this budget, and I will be doing all I can to make sure their voice is heard in Westminster.