What we needed today was a budget to recover jobs, retrain workers and rebuild business. Only by creating growth will we get the economy back on its feet. Instead, Rishi Sunak has decided to repeat the mistakes of the last ten years by squeezing wages and increasing costs for ordinary people.
Now we know where the extra help for councils is coming from: straight from us. A 5% hike in council tax is on its way. After spending weeks clapping our key workers today the government showed them what they really think. Freezing pay for police officers, firefighters, social workers, prison officers, teachers, probation workers and many other key workers will hit people in their pockets and pull spending out of our high streets and small businesses. It didn’t work last time and it won’t work now. You can’t give our local economy a boost by cutting wages.
Incredibly, Rishi Sunak said our “economic emergency has just begun.” The people of Hull and Hessle will have trouble believing their ears, we’ve been in an economic emergency for months! What we need is news on support for our hospitality trade, local small businesses, all those people facing unemployment, those people excluded from support and the council to have the money they have spent on COVID replaced.
People are right to be concerned about the cost of the COVID pandemic which is why they have the right to total transparency round the criteria on which Conservative donors gained multi million pound contracts. This is starting to appear like if you’re a friend of the government you will get a blank check, if you’re a frontline worker – you’re picking up the bill. The hundreds of millions of pounds spent on PPE that is not fit for purpose as well as the multiple conflicts of interest are hard to refute. Too much money has been wasted.
The Conservatives are very good at making big promises but not so good at delivering on them; I am still waiting for Norther Powerhouse Rail which was announced six years ago, so I remain sceptical about the new regional fund they have announced and what criteria will be used to award it.
The UK is facing its biggest economic downturn for a century and a crisis in jobs but this government has no answers. It has missed a huge opportunity to commit to making our country the best to grow up in and the best to grow old in. Instead, it has set us up to pay the price for its failures.