Ruth responds to the budget

Osborne’s budget props up the wealthy on the backs of the most vulnerable.

George Osborne repeated his claim that the Tories were the ‘party of workers’ in his budget announcement yesterday, but for my own constituents in Stoke-on-Trent North and Kidsgrove that claim will ring hollow.

While the increase in the personal tax allowance is welcome, it will provide only limited relief for people struggling to get by on stagnating wages, often in insecure or part-time work.

But the cruellest blow is the decision to axe benefits for the sick and disabled, up to 370,000 of whom stand to lose an average of £3,500 each and every year. This announcement comes just weeks after the Government voted to slash the Disability Support Allowance for thousands of disabled people across the country.

For people suffering from disabilities or long-term sickness this money is not a bonus, it is a lifeline. The additional support that they receive can be the difference between being able to live a full and active life, and being trapped in their own homes. The idea that pushing the most vulnerable ever deeper into poverty can incentivise them to find employment is so divorced from the reality of peoples live it is frightening.

What’s worse is that the money being clawed back from the most vulnerable is then being redirected to provide tax giveaways for the some of the wealthiest in our society. The Resolution Foundation has calculated that 80% of the benefits from these tax cuts will go to the highest 50% of earners, at the expense of people in desperate need of assistance.

Behind the cheap parlour tricks and tax giveaways, this budget only confirms the lamentable record of a chancellor who has consistently failed to achieve even those targets he has set himself. A Government which won an election on the promise of paying down the deficit is set to borrow over £38 billion more than they planned, while growth has been revised down last year, this year and every year of the forecast.

This budget was the culmination of six years of failure under a Tory Chancellor who has put his own political ambition above the prosperity of our country.