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Budget lets Harrow down
George Osborne’s first Budget was a shocking mix of measures that will increase unemployment, hold back economic growth and damage vital public services. It was also striking for the wholesale breaking of manifesto promises made only weeks ago during the General Election.
The Office of Budget Responsibility has said that economic growth both this year and next year will now be lower as a direct result of the measures included in this Budget compared to the Budget of the previous Government. Predictions for economic growth have now been revised down because of the harm measures contained in the Budget will bring.
This new Quango has also forecasted as a result of this Budget the unemployment claimant count will be 100,000 higher for each of the next four years.
Once again, a Conservative Government clearly thinks that higher unemployment is a price worth paying. They have axed a series of major initiatives to help economic growth. The Future Jobs Fund for example, which had helped thousands of young people get into work, has been cancelled.
One of the most surprising measures in the Budget was the hike in VAT. This despite both sides of the Coalition Government campaigning in the last General Election that they would not raise VAT.
David Cameron himself pointed out “it’s very regressive, it hits the poorest the hardest. It does, I absolutely promise you.”
The Conservatives confirmed as recently as 5th April that they held no plans to put up VAT.
The Liberal Democrats said during the General Election that a Tory Government would come up with "a secret VAT bombshell", but as Harriet Harman said; the only secret appears now to be that the Liberal Democrats intended to vote for it when it was introduced.
As the Institute for Fiscal Studies states, in its damning verdict on this Budget, the VAT rise will "hit the poorest hardest and…keep on hitting them more and more every year".
The Budget fails the fairness test. Disability benefits to some of the most vulnerable people in the UK will be cut. Some families will struggle to meet their mortgage interest payments, as help from the Government is reduced. Pensioners will be left empty handed.
This Budget savages support for the poorest and most vulnerable. Child benefit will be cut, tax credits reduced for families on low and modest incomes. Support for families with very young children is also being axed.
But this Budget is just the start, 25% cuts to Government Departmental spending are due to follow in the Autumn. We do not yet know what affect this will have on for example the number of our police officers, or on local Council funding.
In short, this is a Budget that faced three key credibility tests – would it help economic growth, would it be in line with the manifesto promises of the Coalition Government and would it be fair? On all three of these tests people are entitled to feel that they have been let down.
In this section
- North Harrow parking review
- Headstone Motors site: proposed development
- Proposed caravan site, Broadfields, Headstone Lane
- North Harrow gym March 2013
- Why I’m backing AV
- The impact of the Tory-led Government's cuts on London
- A cap on the aspirations of young people
- Harrow's diversity is a source of great pride
- Savage cuts would threaten economic recovery
- Future of Harrow Town Centre