Rachael Maskell MP
Rachael Maskell MP

As the Prime Minister hosts the COP26 summit, mitigation for the biggest crisis facing the planet barely got a mention. While the rise in fuel duty was cancelled and air passenger duty cut, it will be the planet that will pay for today’s Budget. While Labour has committed to invest £28bn a year for the next decade to transition to a green economy, the Chancellor was silent on how it will create the jobs and opportunities to make this change.

Working people too will be made  worse off by this Budget. With inflation set to run at 4%, we will all see food and fuel prices soar and rents rise, and yet the Chancellor failed to mitigate these costs. He could have taken VAT off gas and electric bills altogether to  protect families against the harsh increases  but failed to do this. After taking £6 billion out of the pockets of some of the poorest people in the country this month, today’s announcement to put £2 billion into Universal Credit goes nowhere near to compensate those hardest hit. The Chancellor also failed to invest in social housing, desperately needed across the city and country and there was nothing to diversify our energy sources.

While saying he will invest in 300 new Youth Clubs, he failed to mention the 800 Youth Clubs the Government have cut. While at the same time the Chancellor was silent about the 1,300 Sure Start Centre closures this Government have presided over, investing just £20m in Family Hubs and demanding more out of charities, whilst giving no mention of the sector in his address.

It will also be ordinary people that pay for this budget. We cannot live on future promises, but needed real intervention now. Businesses have been calling for the VAT freeze to continue and to have time to recover from the pandemic. While many people simply ask for a decent wage they can live on. Increasing low pay to £9.50 an hour will help the lowest paid, but when they will also be taxed for the Health and Social Care Levy from next April, and have had other benefits removed, they will continue to struggle. Labour would immediately pay £10 an hour, and have called for this to rise to £15 to meet the rising cost of living.

Rachael Maskell says –

“The people and planet will pay for this Budget. While always delivered with optimism, the staggering omissions from the Chancellor’s Budget means that it comes at a heavy price. With inflation soaring and a bleak economic forecast predicted, against the backdrop of low productivity and faltering growth, he took benefits and security away from the poorest, and now they have been short changed. Labour would pay all workers at least £10 an hour, rising to £15 and ensure that people could meet the rising costs of food and energy.

“However it is our planet that has been hardest hit. When a Green New Deal, a just transition to a new economy is needed like never before, all the Chancellor could offer was to cancel a rise in fuel costs and to cut air duty, thus causing more harm, not less to our crumbling world. It is unbelievable that as we host COP26, when 1.5’C must be kept alive, we are charging towards a rise of 2.7’C which will cost us all.

“Labour would invest £28bn a year in green jobs and transition, getting us back on track to meet our carbon budget and to prevent the costly climate crisis stealing our future.

“I will study the announcements made and the impact that these will have on our communities and businesses over the coming days as more detail emerges, and while welcoming the reannouncement of funding to York’s National Railway Museum, will take every opportunity to stand up for York’s people and our planet.”

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