Budget 2013


Two hours ago the Chancellor George Osborne finished delivering his Budget Statement in the House of Commons.

However much George Osborne may try to duck or dive to shirk his own responsibility, the facts won’t go away. He is borrowing nearly £100bn more than he planned but the economy is still flat lining three years after he took over.

The casualties are people like the 3,000 young people in Birmingham who have been out of work for more than a year. Young people are our future but the government’s failures today are sapping their chances of building that future.

Like all Budgets, this one had a few giveaways. It is good to see beer duty down and September’s fuel duty increase scrapped. But some of the things which George Osborne was bragging about today are not all they are cracked up to be.

He talked about tax breaks for families on low incomes – but these are precisely the people he is already hitting hardest with his changes to tax credits, housing benefit and the bedroom tax.

He talked about cutting corporation tax to help businesses. That is good for financial companies and other big firms already making big profits – but it is pretty useless for an innovative small business trying to finance investment to win orders and create jobs.

Some of his mortgage plans sound good – but unless he also boosts house building and does something to help those who have to rent rather than buy, he could end up simply fuelling a new housing bubble followed by a crash.

George Osborne either does not understand these realities or he has just got his priorities wrong. He will be giving millionaires a tax break in two weeks but he is making families wait two years for the help with childcare he has promised.

It sounds to me like it is his priorities that are wrong.

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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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