By Bridget Phillipson MP
Recently, the Chancellor George Osborne announced the government’s Spending Review for 2015-16 and with it £11.5 billion cuts to public spending. A balance must be struck between making tough decisions on the economy and protecting those who need help. But the Chancellor’s Spending Review is just another example of the government’s failure to do either.
The past three years have seen cuts to services, widespread job losses and shrinking pay packets for many. However, the Conservative-led government cut the top rate of tax giving millionaires an average £40,000 tax break. If we are all in this together, why isn't the government acting like it?
Osborne claims that his plan is working and things are getting better. But life is getting harder for families across Wearside. Prices are rising faster than wages, bank lending to businesses is down, and long-term unemployment is rising especially here in the north east. The economy has flatlined for three years and the government’s failure to secure growth is leading to failure on the deficit and rising spending on welfare. That’s why the Chancellor announced yet more cuts to Parliament.
Labour has been arguing that the government should listen to the International Monetary Fund and invest now in long term infrastructure projects. It would get construction workers back to work repairing our roads, improving transport links and building the affordable homes we desperately need. I hear too often from that small businesses that they are struggling to borrow from the banks. More must be done to boost lending to businesses that want to expand and create jobs. A new British Investment Bank would support this.
Our country still faces tough times ahead and our economy is fragile. We needed the Chancellor to act to secure a stronger economic recovery. But instead families, businesses and public services are paying the price for his failure and I fear the north east is being left behind.
This article was originally published in the Sunderland Echo on 11th July 2013