In this year’s Budget, we desperately needed the Government to lay out a comprehensive and credible plan for the country’s economic recovery after the pandemic. With the vaccine rollout continuing apace and thoughts turning to our future beyond this crisis, it is vital we secure and rebuild our economy.
People up and down the country are crying out for policies that can put us on the road to recovery and right the wrongs of the last decade by rebuilding our economic foundations. Instead of rising to this challenge, yesterday’s Budget merely papered over the cracks.
The Office of Budget Responsibility confirmed the Conservative Government’s mismanagement has left Britain with the worst economic recession of any major economy. The reality of this economic shock has been felt by hardworking people and families here in Manchester, and across the UK.
In a recent survey of my constituents in Manchester Gorton, 1 in 4 told me they were struggling to meet their basic living costs. The financial insecurity plaguing my constituents and millions more across the UK is having a devastating effect on people’s mental health and emotional wellbeing, with 59% of survey respondents reporting poor mental wellbeing last month.
The Budget should have been a moment of much needed reassurance and relief. Instead, Rishi Sunak delivered more uncertainty, more chaos, and more indecision as he failed to address key issues:
There was no mention of the NHS or social care.
There was no mention of schools or teachers.
There was no mention of restoring our high streets.
Meanwhile, the Chancellor is freezing pay for the key workers who have pulled us through this crisis and he is forcing through a council tax hike that will hit households hard, including those already struggling to cope.
In my recent report on financial insecurity in Manchester Gorton, I was clear the scale of the challenge facing us now would require an unprecedented level of ambition and determination. Without such ambition, we would risk overseeing an economic recovery that further entrenched inequality and left people and communities behind.
A Labour Budget would have put social care and the NHS at the centre of a new settlement to build a country fit for the future. It would have had a plan to rebuild the foundations of our economy for the long-term, with a relentless focus on jobs, support for our high streets, protection for household finances, and backing for our key worker heroes.
This Chancellor, and this Budget, have failed to meet the needs of the British people. We deserve better.