Well, today I sat through my second Budget as your MP and I felt a lot more prepared for it than the last time which was only a couple of weeks after the election. I listened carefully, hoping to hear announcements that would make our part of the country and easier, healthier, and more productive place to live and work. I’m bitterly disappointed.
Firstly the big picture. He didn’t say as much but when you run the numbers it is now a fact that every year between now and 2021 the economy will grow less than we were told last year. Over the same period the government will borrow more than they told us they would too. They are failing even by the standards set by George Osbourne himself.
There was investment in London’s transport and Wales’ and an announcement for HS3…but not one single word about Commuters in the South East of England or Brighton and Hove. In the Budget ‘Red Book’ containing the small-print, there is only four small bullet-points on infrastructure for the South East out of an 86 page document.
This time last year George Osbourne announced his support for Brighton Mainline 2 to solve the long term congestion for our commuters. In last year’s ‘red book’ there was a tiny reference to it. Today there was nothing….it’s gone. I’ve asked dozens of parliamentary questions on this and been stalled, but I will be pushing harder than ever to get them to deliver for our city. We won’t be brought off with promises before an election and then cast aside less than a year later.
I support the measures to help some people who are self employed, and I am glad for the ‘sugar tax’. But bear in mind that the same amount of money saved by snapping Personal Independence Payments (PIP) to disabled people in the name of paying down the deficit was given away today – not to help those in greatest need but as a give-away for higher rate tax payers.
Budgets are complex and it takes time to go into all the detail. I’ll continue to plough through all the small print and I will be challenging stronger than ever on the areas where we have been overlooked and let down and I will always think carefully about how the most vulnerable, the voiceless, are given the advocacy that is sometimes lacking at key moments like this.
What did you think of the Budget, I’m really keen to hear your thoughts. All the best, Peter