Budget debate 22nd March 2016

Last week, the Chancellor told us that he would put stability first, choose the long term and deliver real opportunity and social mobility. 

I am afraid that this Government have not appeared very stable since that statement and, far from being long term, the Budget that was delivered only last week appears to have been abandoned before we have even come to vote on it.

I suppose there was some opportunity and social mobility, even if it was limited to the Department for Work and Pensions.

The former Secretary of State revealed the simple truth in his resignation letter: this is a Chancellor who puts his career before the country.

Even by his own fiscal rules, he has failed, and blaming Labour will just not wash.

This was a Budget not for the long-term interests of the country, but for the short-term interests of his ambition to lead the country—an ambition that seems to have unravelled almost as fast as his Budget.

As remarkable as it is to watch what has unfolded on the Government Benches, my concern is what is happening for my constituents in Ashton-under-Lyne.

My constituent, Marie, has worked all her life, but then, unfortunately, developed hymphoedema as a secondary of breast cancer. She should be entitled to a dignified life while managing her condition, and this Budget has sought to deny her that.

One borough that sits in my constituency is Oldham, and under this Government, Oldham is now the most deprived town in England, according to the latest figures of the Office for National Statistics.

Since 2010, more than half of the council’s income has been taken away. Real jobs are lost, real services are withdrawn and the most vulnerable suffer the worst. Our local economy and businesses suffer.

Meanwhile, councils such as Surrey, given minimal cuts to local government finance in the first place, now receive a sweetener of nearly £12 million on top.

Guess what the two local authorities serving my constituency, Oldham and Tameside, received: a big fat zero.

Of course, the Chancellor has revealed exactly why that is the case; people in my constituency do not vote for the Conservatives.

Cuts to ESA to fund tax cuts, proposed cuts for the working poor through tax credits and universal credit—if the cruelty was not bad enough, the incompetence is now becoming obvious as well.

In the last Parliament, we saw plans to tax everything from caravans to pasties proposed and abandoned and this year the Chancellor becomes the first Chancellor in history to have to accept not one but two amendments to his own Budget resolution just days after he tabled it.

Mr Speaker, I do not need three minutes to tell you about this Chancellor. I have three words, and they are “Not good enough”.

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