‘Smoke and mirrors’ budget fails ordinary working people, says Rainham MP Jon Cruddas

PUBLISHED: 15:20 08 March 2017 | UPDATED: 15:20 08 March 2017

Rainham MP Jon Cruddas. Picture:

Rainham MP Jon Cruddas. Picture:

Jon Cruddas slammed the chancellor’s budget as a “smoke and mirrors” failure for working people, schools and the National Health Service.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond making his Budget statement to MPs in the House of Commons Picture: PA Images Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond making his Budget statement to MPs in the House of Commons Picture: PA Images

Rainham MP Jon Cruddas said the government had failed its promise to deliver for “ordinary working people” as Chancellor Philip Hammond promised a “strong and stable platform” for Brexit negotiations with his first budget.

He said the budget – which includes a National Insurance rates rise for the self-employed – failed to uphold equality on International Women’s Day, as Class 4 National Insurance contributions will go up by 1 per cent to 10pc and by a further 1pc in April 2019.

“Today we saw another smoke and mirrors budget, with Phillip Hammond promising a budget that works for ‘ordinary working people’ – where do the millions forced into part-time work or zero-hours contracts fit into this plan?” he said. “This budget is not working for our councils, our schools, or our NHS, all of which are under extreme pressure as a result of direct cuts to funding and services.

“This government has its priorities all wrong, and millions are suffering while the few at the top reap the benefits of huge tax giveaways. The self-employed in particular are getting a kicking in this budget, with no sick pay, no holiday pay – and now the Tories are asking them to pay more tax.

“Labour are demanding a budget that works for everyone, to tackle chronic low pay and underemployment.

“We are calling for a budget that works to deal with women’s economic inequality.”

After the chancellor praised the UK’s economy for continuing to “confound the commentators with robust growth” today, he announced an extra £500million for vocational and technical education in England and a one-off £320million for 140 new schools in England – which could include grammars.

The chancellor also promised to extend free school transport to all free school meals pupils at selective schools and a £1,000 business rates discount for 90pc of pubs. A £300m discretionary fund will be made available to councils so they can help companies badly hit by business rates and £500m allocated to support electric vehicles, robotics and artificial intelligence.

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