Reacting to Autumn Statement

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The Chancellor opened his statement with an admission of complete economic failure for the past 6 years of Government. It is official that the long term economic plan has failed. He announced that the national debt has continued to rise under this Government, and will continue to do so, reaching a staggering 90.2%. Debt is spiralling out of control as the national debt has now reached £1.7 trillion, while household debt has rocketed to £1.5 trillion. He also dropped the fiscal rule but not austerity.

The Chancellor also stated that growth will be far lower than projected, by 2.4% and that the UK’s productivity was a staggering third less than other developed economies like Germany.

Investment in business is £50 billion lower than 2010. Pay is 10% lower than in 2007 and 80% of jobs that have been created are self-employed, insecure, part time and low paid. Insecure jobs makes housing and futures insecure, and the Government have no plans or ideas how to get us out of this race to the bottom. There were no solutions either for small businesses that are really struggling, such as changing business rates.

We heard how the Government has the lowest house building programme since the 1920s, and there was no mention of building future social housing. Only 40,000 out of the 140,000 new homes they intend to build will be ‘affordable’. We also heard how NHS waiting lists have rocketed to 3.9m people while the amount spent per patient is falling. The Humber Coast and Vale Sustainability and Transformation Fund have to cut £420m from its budgets. The Government also said they would invest in Grammar Schools while children in York will lose £173 per pupil by 2020. There have been 6 years of pain under the Coalition and now Tory austerity plan, but no gain.

For the last six years many people in York have been really struggling. The Conservative and Lib Dem Coalition Government put us on an austerity road with the promise of ‘jam tomorrow’. After six years of harsh cuts we are now finding out there is less money available now than there was in 2010. The Conservatives were elected with the promise that they would reduce the National Debt and the amount of borrowing but instead the debt has risen by over £555 billion since 2010 and the Government are increasing the amount we borrow.

The economy has fallen 15p in the pound because of uncertainty about our future trade relationship with Europe, and yet the Chancellor failed to give any certainty as to whether we would be in either the Single Market or Customs Union. With prices rising and hitting households, the Chancellor was irresponsible for not using today’s opportunity to create stability in the markets.

We should not have heard that the Government were sticking to the old broken economics of the past, but instead we should have seen an agenda which would have started to address the growing inequality across Britain.

Labour’s vision of investment in skills and jobs, the housing that people need, that’s truly affordable, to rent or to buy, and ending the disgraceful underinvestment in social care, would start putting fairness back into the economy. We would not have ignored measures to mitigate against climate change and would have ensured that those in our society who really needed help, those who are living below the poverty line, could have been given the dignity that they deserve. Labour’s credible and costed economic plan is needed by the nation more than ever. Only a Labour Government can now ensure that no one and no community is left behind.”


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