On Wednesday the Chancellor boasted yet again about how well things are going – but it was sadly totally out of touch with hardworking people in Tameside who are facing a cost-of-living crisis.
We need an economic recovery that works for ordinary people and families, not just a few at the top, sadly the Chancellor has got it wrong again.
Today people’s wages are falling and are lower than they were in 2010 with the Government’s shambolic approach to Brexit negotiations creating even more uncertainty for people and businesses across the area.
The Conservatives’ failed economic policy has created widespread disaffection as communities have just not been included in our nations shared prosperity.
Regions across the UK are crying out for investment and an industrial strategy that boosts the economy in these uncertain times, but instead of providing stability the Government is kicking infrastructure projects into the long grass.
We all know how badly we need improvements to transport links across Greater Manchester which is why I support Labour’s pledge to deliver ‘Crossrail for the North’, a series of major rail improvements across existing west-east links in the North of England which would drastically reduce travel times across the North of England.
For too long the North has been on the the thin end of the wedge of spending decisions compared to London and the South East which is why a future Labour government will introduce legislation to make sure that all future governments will have to audit their regional capital spend against economic need.
We want to move away from the view that whatever works in the City of London will benefit the whole country – that’s why Labour wants everyone to get involved in developing Regional Economic Plans.
On housing we saw no new meaningful plans to get us out of this crisis. In fact, according to the respected and independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) one of the key measures in the Chancellor’s drive to help young buyers to get on to the property ladder may very well backfire by pushing up house prices and benefiting those who already own homes, making owning a home even more difficult for a young person.
Homelessness is up 50% since 2010 with homeownership rates collapsing to its lowest level in decades. Added to this private tenants in England spend nearly half their pay on rent – this is unsustainable.
The scale and size of the crisis demands action on an equal scale which is why we need at least 100,000 new social homes every year to be funded and built by the government, and that would be only one of the first steps to solving the problem.
Our NHS continues to struggle under the Tories as standards for NHS patients collapses. A&Es are overstretched and overcrowded; increasing numbers of people are waiting too long for operations; and key performance targets, such as the 62-day cancer treatment target, are being missed month after month.
The Budget was the Governments opportunity to finally give the NHS the resources it needs to provide the best possible quality of care for Britain’s patients – sadly, the Chancellor decided not to listen to our doctors and nursing professionals.
On the cost of living, on poverty, on infrastructure and transport investment, on housebuilding and on our NHS the Government’s Budget failed to provide the solutions our country needs.
The Government have missed another opportunity to show people that they are on the side of the many. In their absence Labour will continue to fight for a fairer deal for the country.