Millions asked to pay more so millionaires can pay less


It has been an eventful week in Westminster. The Queen addressed both Houses of Parliament to mark her Diamond Jubilee. The controversial Health Bill returned to the House of Commons. But the big political event of the week was, of course, the Budget.

My constituents have been contacting me over the last few weeks to let me know what they wanted the Chancellor to do this week.

They told me they wanted him to take action on high fuel prices, which are hitting people hard at a time when families, pensioners and businesses are already being squeezed by higher food prices and rising energy bills.

They wanted him to cancel the government’s damaging changes to working tax credits, which are not just unfair but don’t make economic sense. These changes will leave thousands of families better off quitting work and living on benefits. So much for a “Budget to help working people”.

The Budget will be a big disappointment to my constituents. The Chancellor could have done all of these things, but he didn’t. Instead he chose to cut taxes for the richest 1% of earners. This is the wrong choice from a government that is totally out of touch.

And I reckon people in this area will be even more disappointed when the reality of George Osborne’s granny tax becomes clear.

Raising taxes and cutting spending too far and too fast has hit families and businesses hard, seen our economy flat line for over a year and pushed up unemployment to a 16 year high. As a result the government is having to borrow £150 billion more than it planned.

This week we needed the Chancellor to outline a real plan to help families on middle and low incomes and a real plan for jobs. Sadly we got neither.

This article was also published in today’s Bromsgrove Standard. You can read the newspaper online here.


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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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