Yesterday the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne made his Budget statement to the House of Commons. Unfortunately families in the Rother Valley will be worse off, while the banks get a tax cut this year. Many families will see their child benefit frozen and will pay an average extra £450 in VAT this year. Families earning as little as £26,000 are set to lose their tax credits next year too.
While the Government’s plan is definitely hurting all the signs are that it’s not working either. The VAT rise and cuts which go too deep and too fast are driving up unemployment again with the independent budget watchdog saying inflation will be higher and the economy will grow more slowly this year and next.
That is why borrowing will actually be higher after this Budget than before. So these reckless plans will make it much harder to get the deficit down. It doesn’t make sense.
On petrol prices the Government should have gone further in this Budget. Across Yorkshire & the Humber the average cost of a litre of unleaded is now 131.9p – up from 121.2p in December before the VAT rise. George Osborne should have reversed the VAT rise on petrol, which is adding £1.35 to the cost of filling up a 50 litre tank.
He should also have repeated the bank bonus tax this year, to help young people into work, build thousands of affordable homes and boost business investment. They are the fair things to do and would help to get our economy moving again and get people into work.
It is now clear that George Osborne’s plan is hurting, but it’s not working. For the sake of our economy, our young people and the future of the Rother Valley, the Coalition Government needs to think again and get a plan B that puts jobs and growth first – before it is too late.