Last Wednesday I watched the Chancellor’s budget with bated breath. As political events go, they don’t really get much bigger. The budget is the Government’s way of putting their money where their mouth is and outlining how they will tackle some of the biggest problems we face as a nation.
Despite me being on the other side of the political aisle, there were some aspects of the budget which were undoubtedly welcome. I was delighted to see that my bid for funding for a line through Denton and Reddish South stations was approved for the next stage of development. This bid – made to the ‘Restoring Your Railways’ fund – would see the reopening of a passenger line from Stockport through Reddish South and Denton to Ashton Moss and then on to Manchester Victoria, as well as link Rose Hill (Marple) to Stockport via Reddish South. It will make a massive difference to people’s lives across Denton and Reddish, and I look forward to working with the Government on developing this plan.
There was also good news for Reddish North Station. After a tireless campaign by local resident Nathaniel Yates, which was backed by the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, funding has been granted to finally make Reddish North Station fully accessible. This is a big step in making Greater Manchester’s transport system accessible to all.
Despite these victories, however, there was a significant sting in the tail of this year’s budget. The Chancellor hit working people with the highest sustained tax burden in the post-war era. People are facing years of slow wage growth, high inflation, rising taxes and an unsustainably high cost-of-living. There was little action taken to tackle the soaring prices of energy bills, and nothing that came close to making up for the cut to the £20-a-week universal credit uplift.
I wanted to see fairer taxes, proper investment to bolster the economy, and a plan for a green economic recovery ahead of COP26. I saw very little of that. But it isn’t really about what I think, it’s about the people that I represent. People across Denton and Reddish will have watched a budget that was glitzy, but ultimately delivered very little to improve the lives of working people.
The Government cannot continue on this path. If we want to come out of the pandemic and build a Britain that is fairer, greener and stronger, we need to see some really bold decisions from the Chancellor. Enough with the fancy slogans and unmet promises, let’s see some action.