Today’s Autumn Statement underlines the abject failure of the Tories’ economic policy. The ‘long term economic plan’ lies in tatters and the choices the Conservatives have made will leave millions worse off. The downward spiral of austerity and the failure to invest have left the economy in such a fragile state that growth has now been revised downwards, whilst borrowing and debt will now be higher than expected.
Labours Chancellor in waiting John McDonnell MP said “Families will already be facing the pinch, with average earning estimates cut for last year, this year and in the next three years. And despite all this, the Conservatives are pressing ahead with their huge cuts to Universal Credit, hitting working people hard. Where the Tories have failed, Labour will build an economy that ends austerity, supports investment, supports those in work and properly funds our public services.
Despite the largest deficit and longest waiting lists in NHS history, there was not a single extra penny in the Chancellor’s speech to deal with the crisis in the NHS and social care. The Chancellor didn’t even mention social care in his speech once. While the Conservatives ignore the impact of leaving our NHS underfunded and understaffed, Labour supporters across Britain will this Saturday be campaigning for the NHS to receive the funding it needs. We know that only a Labour government will have the ambition and vision to rebuild and transform our economy so that no-one and no community is left behind. “
Taking to the streets
Bridgwater Labour Party is taking to the streets this Saturday 26th November to spread that message – join our NHS national campaign day this Saturday by finding an event near you.
Cllr Mick Lerry (Bridgwater Victoria), Leader of Sedgemoor Labour Group said “For those people and families “just managing” I am afraid the Autumn Statement means more of the same and no change. Austerity and tax breaks for the wealthy has not been able to reduce the national deficit. Britain under this Government will have to carry on servicing the debt, rather than been able to invest in health and social care, productivity and economic growth.
The forecast after Brexit shows that there will be a decline in economic growth and an increase in government debt. The anticipation that the Chancellor would announce the commencement of major infrastructure projects did not happen. Yet recently in the South West has seen that the local economy and commuters have been hit by the flooding of railway lines, similar to the experience of the floods in 2014. As the construction of Hinkley C goes ahead, there should be other infrastructure projects in the pipe line, the need for affordable homes, road and rail development along with flood prevention infrastructure have not been brought forward in terms of delivery. The announcement of 140K affordable homes for the country is too little for the demand. Locally we do not want to see local people being displaced, due to the influx of workers.The slight change in the tapering of Universal Credit for working people will help, but the administration of the scheme has left many destitute and finding it difficult to manage on a weekly basis. At the same time corporation tax has been reduced to 17% from 20%, meaning less revenue for the government to pay off the deficit. In fact the reduction of corporation tax, will subsidize companies when they have to pay the apprenticeship levy next April.
The economic future is now uncertain and the government must make sure that the during the Brexit negotiations, Britain must be part of the tariff free economic single market in Europe. At the moment the government is not giving a clear sign to businesses and workers that it will not damage our trading relations with that market. The Brexit vote was a decision to leave the European Union; it was not about our trading relationship with Europe. In the same way that the vote was not about spending 350 million on the National Health Service, an argument or con put forward at time, without any intention or ability to deliver.
For those people who are “just managing” and young people, who will be on the new national living wage. The Autumn Statement lacked the big vision of a long-term national industrial strategy to increase economic growth.”
Bridgwater Labour Party’s youth officer Cllr Diogo Rodrigues (Dunwear North) hit out at the Tories saying “The Autumn statement has been absolute shambles – with a lack of support for the most vulnerable in our society whilst providing tax cuts to big business and the richest. “
Young People – Modern day Age Discrimination!
Diogo conntinued “The chancellor failed to mention young people in his statement, the very young people who feel disengaged and disenfranchised by the policies of this Tory government (Abolishment of the EMA, Increased tuition fees, abolishment of student grants, removal of housing benefit entitlement for people ages 18-21 and excluding under 25’s from the ‘national living wage’ amongst other things). The small rise in the national living wage may be the only thing in this autumn statement that may appease some people – but it certainly will not appease those aged under 25. Whilst from next April I may earn £7.50 an hour for a job, my younger colleague will do the exact same job just as well as I or perhaps even better yet get paid less for it – and this is enshrined in law. This is absolute modern day age discrimination and what we should have seen was all employees aged 18+ receive the same minimum wage. Unfortunately, young people have been left out again by this incompetent, out of touch Tory government.”
Adult Social Care – Rich to get richer at the expense of the elderly and vulnerable.
“Not one word was mentioned in the Autumn statement about the dire state which adult social care is in nor any measure to help improve the situation. The lives of elderly and vulnerable people are being put at risk due to a lack of government funding whilst large companies have been given tax cuts. We cannot allow for the rich to get richer at the expense of the elderly and vulnerable. What this statement should have done was increase funding for the vital services which keep these people safe. Not only does the lack of funding negatively affect the end user, it also affects the lives of the people who provide the care. Many of these employees work on zero hour’s contracts without job security or financial stability. Only by plugging the funding gap can we create a fair system where by those who require care are treated with dignity and get the care they need, and those who provide the care are rewarded with a modern day human right – job security and financial stability!”
Small Businesses – Lack of support at a time of need.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our local economies providing jobs and security to our local communities. For our communities to grow we must support small businesses especially in times of economic uncertainty. This Autumn statement has done very little to support these small businesses. Not only are small businesses struggling with the economic uncertainty since the vote to leave the EU but they are also tackling the decline in the pound, which raises fears that prices may therefore have to go up. Had this government wanted to help small local businesses then they would have, and should have, delayed the increase in business rates payment. Business rates relief is due to be phased out from April 2017 therefore increasing by £2.3bn over 5 years. This will add more cost to local businesses therefore not only creating more uncertainty, but also restricting growth at a time when we are yearning to see our local economies grow stronger.”
Cllr Rodrigues concluded “The government has failed the elderly, the vulnerable, the young and small businesses all around the UK. Only a Labour government can tackle the inequalities in our society by providing a fair and dignified service to those who need it most, ensuring equal opportunities are given to people of all ages and the right support is provided to the local businesses who help to carry this country and our communities forward.”