The budget is an underwhelming flop. In the face of a stalling and worsening economy, Brexit uncertainty is threatening our future prosperity and the Chancellor is doing little to counteract the threats.
With GDP revised down by an average of 0.4% a year, earnings growth revised down by an average of 0.5% every year and productivity growth revised down by an average of 0.7% a year, alarm bells are ringing. The post Brexit referendum devaluation in the pound is squeezing real incomes, pushing up consumer price inflation and weakening growth in the economy just at a time when the rest of the EU economies are growing fast.
Meanwhile, the Chancellor revealed that he has spent £700m preparing for Brexit and is set to spend another £3billion – that’s more than he set aside for the NHS over the next three years (2.8billion). So much for the promised extra £350m a week for the NHS promised by the Brexiteers in the EU referendum!
There is almost nothing new for our schools, already cutting teachers, teaching assistants and available courses to the detriment of the young people in my constituency. There is literally nothing extra for the hard-pressed Merseyside police, even though they are facing a serious challenge because of increasing gun crime which threatens the safety of our streets and communities.
The Chancellor promised to end tolls over the Severn Bridge but did nothing to help my constituents suddenly having to pay £900 a year to cross the Mersey Gateway Bridge having had the Silver Jubilee Bridge closed to them. He also promised to pay for new trains on the Tyne and Wear Metro but has not contributed a penny to the new trains for Merseyrail.
All in all, a very disappointing budget.