Today our country was crying out for a Budget to put the country on the road to recovery and right the wrongs of the last decade. Instead, we got a Budget that simply papers over the cracks.
The OBR confirmed that the Conservative Government’s mismanagement has left Britain with the worst economic crisis of any major economy.
It’s there in black and white: our economy was hit harder because we had longer and stricter restrictions than other countries because the government failed to get the virus under control.
We didn’t see a plan for the NHS, so people can get the care they badly need. There was no mention of social care, schools and teachers, or restoring Britain’s high streets.
Instead, the Chancellor is freezing pay for key workers who have got us through this crisis. And he’s forcing through a council tax hike that will hit households across the country.
We all want to see more jobs in our region, and while Treasury North will create 750 jobs, we need to remember that almost 7,000 civil service jobs have been scrapped in the North East alone since 2010.
Nor are freeports a silver bullet for the North East – there’s a real risk that they simply move existing economic activity around, rather than increase it.
This is simply no substitute for a proper long-term plan to rebalance our economy and deliver jobs to every part of our country.
A Labour Budget would have had a plan to rebuild the foundations of our economy for the long term, with a relentless focus on supporting new jobs across the entire UK, supporting our high streets to thrive, protecting family finances, and backing our key worker heroes.
Today’s Budget was a test of character for Rishi Sunak. He failed it.