The Chancellor’s Budget is little more than ‘window-dressing’ and will do nothing to help the vulnerable in Hastings and Rye, the constituency’s Labour party has said.
Peter Chowney, Labour’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Hastings and Rye, has branded it a ‘deeply cynical exercise’.
He added: “This Budget will leave a lot of people in more deprived areas worse off. It amounts to an admission that Universal Credit has hurt people. Hastings saw the earliest roll out of Universal Credit.
“Local residents became guinea pigs for a system that had major flaws built into it, and was designed to punish people for being poor rather than offering them support.
“Three-quarters of the £12bn in welfare cuts announced after the 2015 election remain government policy. The overall package of tax and benefit changes announced since 2015 will deliver an average gain of £390 for the richest fifth of households in 2023-24, compared to an average loss of £400 for the poorest fifth. It has forced Hastings people to use food banks more than ever before.
“These changes do nothing to help vulnerable households who have suffered the most from austerity.
“Further, hidden in the Chancellor’s Red Book small print is another £7 billion in cuts to public services, the impact of which will only be realised in the years ahead, aside from what will happen if there is no deal on Brexit.
“Of particular concern locally is the lack of money for police recruitment to help tackle street drinking and anti-social behaviour following £57 million in cuts in eight years to the Sussex force.
“There was also no hint of an ending to the continuing cuts to council budgets, which have led to a system of local authority funding that has become unsustainable, and will mean that councils can no longer provide even the most basic statutory services.
“Overall, this budget is little more than window-dressing, designed to capture a few favourable headlines without dealing with the massive problems of collapsing public services and increasing poverty that is affecting the more deprived constituencies such as Hastings & Rye particularly badly.”
Earlier Hastings and Rye MP, Amber Rudd welcomed the Budget, saying it will see increased investment in public services, with a 1.2 per cent increase in real terms spending every year.
She also said a large portion of funding will go towards the NHS, which will see £20.5 billion more in real terms funding by 2023-2024.
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