Budget 2017: Corbyn condemns failure to tackle social injustice
“A lot of people will be no better off and the misery many are in will be continuing.”
Jeremy Corbyn accused the Government of “tossing fuel on the fire” via the Budget, despite Theresa May’s promise to tackle burning injustice.
The Labour leader also predicted that Philip Hammond’s spending plans will quickly unravel and result in continuing “misery” for people across the country.
Replying to the Budget, he described the Government as having a “record of failure with a forecast of more to come”.
Mr Corbyn told MPs: “The reality test of this Budget has to be how it affects ordinary people’s lives.
“I believe as the days go ahead and this Budget unravels, the reality will be a lot of people will be no better off and the misery many are in will be continuing.”
He questioned the state of the economy after noting growth and productivity had been revised down, along with wages and living standards.
Mr Corbyn also criticised the Government for repeatedly pushing back its target to reduce Britain’s deficit, as well as the rise in rough sleeping and the fact 120,000 children would spend this Christmas living in temporary accommodation.
The poorest tenth of households, he said, would lose 10% of their income by 2022, while the richest would lose just 1%.
He said: “So much for tackling burning injustice, this is a Government tossing fuel on the fire.”
Mr Corbyn called on Mr Hammond to put Universal Credit “on hold” so it can be fixed to “keep one million of our children out of poverty”.
He said: “The Chancellor’s solution to a failing system causing more debt is to offer a loan, and the six-week wait, with 20% waiting even longer, simply becomes a five-week wait.”
Mr Corbyn later said the “hardest hit” of the “long-term economic pain” are disabled people, single parents and women.
He went on: “The Chancellor has not been clear today – not for NHS workers, our police, firefighters, teachers, teaching assistants, bin collectors, tax collectors or armed forces personnel.
“Why does the Government think it’s OK to under pay, over stress and under appreciate all those that work within our NHS?”
On housing, Mr Corbyn said very little was mentioned about the private rented sector – even though landlords were paid £10 billion in housing benefit.
He said: “We need a large-scale publicly funded house building programme, not this Government’s accounting tricks and empty promises.”
Labour, Mr Corbyn said, backed the abolition of stamp duty for first-time buyers because it was another policy in its manifesto in June.
On the Grenfell Tower tragedy, Mr Corbyn said Mr Hammond had failed to fund the “£1 billion investment needed” for sprinklers in all high-rise buildings.
He said some councils had asked for, but were refused, financial help, while Parliament is about to be retrofitted with sprinklers.
Concluding his speech, Mr Corbyn said: “We were promised with lots of hype a revolutionary Budget, the reality is nothing has changed.
“People were looking for help from this Budget and they have been let down: let down by a Government that, like the economy they have presided over, is weak and unstable and in need of urgent change.
“They call this a Budget fit for the future, the reality is this is a Government no longer fit for office.”