Mayor blasts Hammond’s Budget ‘cons’

Middlesbrough mayor Dave Budd has dismissed Chancellor Philip Hammond’s autumn Budget as a series of ‘cons’.

And he accused both the Chancellor and Prime Minister of blatant dishonesty over claims austerity is ‘coming to an end’.

The remarks follow Mr Hammond’s final pre-Brexit Budget which included income tax cuts and increased funding for Universal Credit and the NHS.

But Mayor Budd said the suffering would continue for those least able to cope in the face of ongoing financial hardship.

He said: “They say the end of austerity is in sight – but it isn’t if you are in education, if you are a police officer or if you are a local authority trying to deliver the services upon which so many millions rely.

“This is further compounded by the continuing uncertainty over the future of business rates which will be our major source of revenue in years to come.

“The cuts we are facing over the coming years have not been changed and will have a very real impact on the services we are able to deliver – to pretend otherwise is nothing more than a con.”

Mayor Budd said the South Tees Development Corporation had asked the Government for £200m – but had received just £14m ‘with conditions’.

He added: “This proves the point that they’re playing round the edges – this is a sticking plaster budget promising a great deal but delivering barely a drop in the ocean.

“The much-heralded tax cuts are another con – the Resolution Foundation has already established that 80% of these will be enjoyed by the top 50% of earners.

“He’s announced £240m for social care – but the Local Government Association actually says that if we are to meet demand, we need at least £2 billion for adult social care, £2 billion for children’s care and an end to the cuts for the next three years.

“It’s already abundantly clear that this Budget is an insulting pre-Brexit shambles and no-one should be taken in by it.

“Quite simply austerity is not over, and it is wholly misleading to suggest that it is.”

 

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