Following the Chancellor’s budget announcement, Marie Rimmer MP said: “The Chancellor talks about fairness but the reality of this budget could not be further from it. As the Chancellor announces tax cuts for the wealthiest and ‘mates rates’ tax deals for multinational corporations, over two million families are set to lose on average £1,600 a year from Universal Credit cuts.
While over half a million people with disabilities are losing more than £1 billion in personal independence payments, big corporations are getting tax breaks and the Chancellor is cutting Capital Gains Tax – a tax he himself raised in 2010 saying doing so was necessary to “create a fairer tax system”.
This Government talks a good game when it comes to devolution but what they really mean is devolution of cuts whilst shying away from responsibility. Local authorities have lost millions of pounds from Government cuts and announcements over business rate retention will do little to plug these financial holes. Public sector National Insurance contributions will have to be funded by further cuts in services and the welcome reduction to small business rates, if not financed by central government, will also mean further service cuts.
There was however some welcome news from this budget. I am pleased that following local campaigns, the Government has agreed to invest £5m in the Shakespeare North project in our constituency to support Knowsley Council’s recent £6m investment announcement and also the promise of an additional £161 million investment into improvement works for the M62 motorway.