I got my opportunity to respond to last Wednesday’s Budget in the House of Commons today and I focused on its failure to address the crisis in public services.  

I talked about the way the country had been broken by fourteen years of Conservative mismanagement – highlighting NHS waiting lists, slipping cancer survival rates, people unable to get a dentist, crumbling schools, poor bus services, cuts in youth services, rising knife crime, a failing welfare system, and the decimation of local government. 

Citing public opinion which prioritises public services over tax cuts, I said his decisions were taken to manage the warring factions inside his party, regardless of the damage to our economy. I pointed out that although the total taken in tax as a percentage of GDP is at a record high for the UK, it’s well behind most of Europe and behind half of the G7 – and that the Chancellor’s ambition for low taxes like the US failed to acknowledge that Americans might have more money in their pockets, but they have to spend it on services that are funded by tax in the UK, from refuse collection to health. 

I argued there was space to increase revenue, but not to increase taxes on working people – pointing out that this Budget left those who could least afford it as tax losers, with workers earning below £27,000 (just under the average earnings in South Yorkshire) up to £500 a year worse off because of the combined impacts since last August of the national insurance changes, which the Chancellor likes to talk about, and the threshold changes, which he likes to ignore. Instead, the Chancellor gave a capital gains tax handout to those selling second and third properties.  

His tax cuts hit those struggling most with the cost-of-living crisis, but leave unprotected Government Departments worse off: less money for education, less for local government, and leaving the NHS without the funds to pay its staff the wages that they deserve. I argued that we should have had a Budget that focused on public services and investment in growth, and that used the opportunity to raise taxes from those who could afford it. 

Read my speech here or watch it below. 

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