Another year and another budget from a Government that simply does not deliver.
Over the past year, the UK has suffered the greatest economic hit of any country in the G7 group. Last week’s Budget didn’t demonstrate a coherent plan to boost jobs and wages, nor to mitigate the loss of EU trade, following this Government’s disastrous Brexit deal.
There was no mention of poverty; no mention of our schools, not even a mention of better funding for our NHS.
Education is just one such area where the Budget fails Newham.
Our Council tells me that 5,000 Newham children still have no laptops and 2,000 are still without broadband.
For an entire year, this Government have deprived children in poorer areas, like Newham, of access to learning.
They hoped the end of the pandemic would come before anybody noticed. Our children will notice because they will likely find it almost impossible to catch up.
The digital resources so many families lack is a consequence of the appalling impact of low wages and growing inequality over the last ten years.
The Chancellor told us this Government wants to be, “fair in all they do.” If his claim were true, schools and councils would be properly funded, ensuring children always have the resources they need.
The Budget failed to fix statutory sick pay and ensure nobody loses by doing the right thing and self-isolating when sick. It also leaves huge numbers excluded from support over the past year, still without adequate incomes.
Even worse, the Government plans to cut social security support in October, just when many in Newham may be forced into unemployment, as furlough and other support schemes end.
Worst is the Budget’s insulting and damaging pay cut the Government proposes for many NHS heroes – nurses, midwives, paramedics, doctors, hospital porters and more – who have done so much for us all this last year.
At a time when our economy and our public services face unprecedented threats, we needed a fair Budget with ambition and focus. We didn’t get that, and our communities will remain the poorer for it.