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Budget has 'robbed' the poor

By Alan Jones

The Government was accused of producing a Budget "of the rich, for the rich", as reaction varied from support for the business measures to outrage from union leaders.

Rail union leader Bob Crow said the tax changes meant that a banker on half a million pounds will receive a "kick back" of £17,500, money "robbed" from public services and the neediest in society.

Paul Kenny, general secretary of the GMB, said: "The different treatment of people at either end of the income scale is stark. Ordinary families are losing their tax credits and child allowances and suffering pay freezes while people on top salaries of £150,000 to £1 million a year are getting cash hand outs."

Local Government Association chairman Sir Merrick Cockell, said: "Today's confirmation that public spending will continue to fall beyond 2015 has to be accompanied with recognition that councils have so far delivered extremely demanding cuts, which others have failed to match.

"It is simply unsustainable to go on cutting council funding when the adult care system is dangerously overstretched and the country's roads need a £10 billion upgrade. More of the same into the next funding period would have a serious negative impact on many of the services residents expect councils to deliver."

Dave Prentis, general secretary of the Unison union, said: "The Chancellor's Budget has given a helping hand-out to his rich friends in the City and delivered a slap in the face to the unemployed and low-paid families.

"Osborne should be delivering policies to get the 2.67 million unemployed people back into work and economically active. Instead, the Government's cuts agenda is making the situation worse by adding to those numbers month by month."

Simon Walker, director-general of the Institute of Directors, said: "While any tax reduction is welcome, the Chancellor has not done enough to free business from the burdens and barriers that are holding economic growth back.

"Businesses dearly want the opportunity to invest, create and build, but George Osborne must go much further if he wants to fire up the engines of the economy. There was a bold move on corporation tax, but in the bigger picture this is still not far enough or fast enough."

Melanie Ward, head of public affairs at ActionAid, said: "We warmly welcome the Government's continued protection of the aid budget.

"UK aid saves lives and, despite these difficult economic times, we can all be proud that we are not walking away from our commitment to the world's poorest people.

"The Government deserves real credit for this."

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