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Hull jobs and services will pay price of Coalition Budget

Hull North MP Diana Johnson today slammed the Coalition Government’s first Budget as bad news for jobs and services in Hull.

Speaking in a House of Commons debate on the Budget delivered yesterday by the Chancellor George Osborne, Hull North’s Labour MP singled out cuts to the Future Jobs Fund, cuts to Child Benefit and Housing Benefit, and the increase in VAT to 20% as likely to hit Hull especially hard - with the least advantaged suffering the most.

The Coalition Government’s own Office of Budget Responsibility forecasts that unemployment is now set to rise by tens of thousands more due to the measures announced by George Osborne. This is against a background of the Yorkshire and Humber region already seeing the highest increases in unemployment - up 24,000 to 255,000 - in the most recent official statistics, published last week.

Many of the poorest families will lose out most, with those on low and middle incomes losing their tax credits, and Child Benefit cut by £129 a year for over seven million families

In her Commons speech Diana Johnson MP said: “Basic rate taxpayers who are promised an extra £170 a year in their income tax allowance will find this more than outweighed by VAT increasing to 20% from 4 January.

“This regressive tax on growth will cost an average household £425 more a year. This is without counting the list of other regressive changes in areas such as on Housing Benefit, Child Benefit, the Child Trust Fund and the disgraceful scrapping of the Health in Pregnancy Grant.

“Despite denouncing VAT increases in the Lib Dem Election campaign as a ‘Tory VAT bombshell’ the Deputy Prime Minister has done a u-turn that takes his party to a new level of opportunism.

“This Government repeats the PR mantra that ‘we’re all in it together’. But some parts of our country will be altogether more ‘in it’ under this Regressive Coalition. A party that has never been known for sharing wealth and opportunity fairly is keen to share austerity with everyone.

“This past month shows that we have replaced a One Nation government, with a Coalition of the two oldest parties representing the misconceived interests of one privileged class.”

Labour’s Shadow Chancellor Alistair Darling said: “There is a big hole in this Budget. Britain now has no strategy for growth. It is not enough to have a strategy for deficit reduction, we need a plan for delivering the rebalanced growth we all want to see if we are to bring the deficit down.

“And the increase in VAT that the Prime Minister said we wouldn’t see is a broken promise that will hit the poorest hardest.”