The budget was nothing short of a fiasco. While the media have focused on George Osborne’s future the sad reality it is the future of our communities that will be hardest hit by the shambolic events of the last week.
The Budget was a test for the Government and for the Chancellor. Could he meet his targets, could he deliver a fair Budget, could he invest to build an economy for the future?
On all three counts he has failed. The Government’s latest Budget is a culmination of six years of failure. It confirms that the Chancellor is failing on his own terms - forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility show that the Government is on course to break two of their three fiscal rules. GDP growth, wages, business investment and productivity growth have all been revised down.
When this Government first came to power in 2010 they promised to balance the books by 2015. Instead, this Budget reveals that this Government is set to borrow £38.4bn more than planned.
The Budget had unfairness at its very core. The Chancellor has tried to give tax cuts for the wealthy, paid for by those who can least afford it. Understandably the public’s response to the attempt to cut Personal Independence Payment, a payment which helps individuals with the extra costs caused by long-term ill-health or a disability, was one of complete and utter revulsion. I am pleased that the Government have been forced to abandon this abhorrent proposal. The question for the Chancellor now however is how he will plug the £4 billion black hole he has created.
I had hoped there might be something for our local councils, so that we could secure the future for local services and museums like the Judges’ Lodgings. Instead he is stripping them of their responsibility for our fantastic local schools. The decision to force every school to become an academy will undermine the national curriculum, accountability to local people through councils, and the ability of parents and of the community to obtain information to find out what is going on through freedom of information requests. This is contemptible from a Government which claims to champion localism.
Ultimately the Government have failed to balance the books, failed to invest in the economy and failed to improve the lives of working families across the country.