Last week, the Chancellor delivered his autumn Budget to the House of Commons. Frustratingly, I was unable to give my response on Monday after receiving a positive Covid PCR test and going into self-isolation.
You can read the speech I would have given in full below.
People across the country and families in my constituency of Manchester Gorton are bracing themselves for what will clearly be an extremely difficult winter as the cost of living and household bills soar to record levels.
The world the Chancellor described in his speech last week of rising wages, rising employment and growing investment must be a parallel world to the one my constituents and I are living in.
With National Insurance going up, Council Tax going up, and working people shouldering the tax burden for the Chancellor’s spending plans, this winter will not be easy for my constituents.
Rather than supporting the poorest and most vulnerable in our society, the Chancellor – who also happens to be the wealthiest Member of this House – is gifting a tax cut to the richest in society. To top it off, he’s also cutting tax on champagne so he and his friends can celebrate in style.
So much for levelling up.
The next generation of leaders in this country – our children and young people – have for the last eighteen months been treated as an afterthought by this Government. And last week’s budget was no different.
The Government’s promise of cash for schools falls far short of what is required, particularly given the need to ensure young people catch up on months of lost education. Even in the best-case analysis, last week’s announcement will mean we will have seen no growth in school funding for 15 years.
So much for no child left behind.
The Chancellor spoke last week as if Covid-19 was a thing of the past – but the sad truth is it is still very much with us. In the past week 890 new families joined the ever-growing numbers of those who have lost loved ones to this virus – just as mine have.
There was nothing in the budget for us, the bereaved.
No additional funding for bereavement support services.
No thought given to money being set aside for memorialisation and remembrance. Or any reserved funds for the UK Commission on Covid Commemoration.
No consideration of ringfenced funds for the Covid inquiry to reassure bereaved families they will be at its heart even with this being the last budget before it is due to start – that is only, if of course the Government keeps its promise.
The Chancellor spoke loudly on the cost of living but was deathly silent when it came to helping those of us coming to terms with the cost of losing a loved one.
So much for us all being in it together.