starring me as Leader of the Opposition, The Smash Patriarchal Capitalism Party (ahh, dreams).
Mr. Deputy Speaker, I would like to thank the Chancellor for his budget. The opposition fully supports many of the measures listed today, the greatest of which, the raising of personal allowance, will lift 3 million hardworking people in this country out of tax and greatly allieviate the pressures on low-income families. The apparent shared philosophy between the government and the opposition on caring for those least well off in our society is very reassuring to me, and I’m sure, thousands of families around the country.
We are also very supportive of the Chancellor’s decision to support those British people who are struggling to get onto or move up the housing ladder. This policy is groundbreaking and we are very keen to see it rolled out across the country as soon as possible. Housing is a human right that for too long has been out of the reach of far too many people in this country and we hope the Chancellor’s new ideas for this will help many of those caught in the renting trap.
We would however like to stress that this measure, whilst positive, will not help those in Britain who are made by a shamefully low minimum wage to live month-to-month, unable to even begin saving for a deposit, 5% or not. These people are at the mercy of private landlords up and down the country who profit from the suffering of others and their inability to make a home their own. We feel that the Chancellor’s measures would be better supported by the instatement of a living wage which would see hundreds of thousands of people in this country lifted out of poverty and would do more for the housing market than this initiative ever could. This measure would go hand in hand with regulation of those renegade landlords who exploit the poorest in our communities.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, what the Chancellor fails to touch on in his statement is the travesty that our housing market is. Whilst this measure will solve part of the problem, it does not take into account the fact that we have nowhere near enough housing in this country to support the many families that live here and we feel his budget should reflect that. What the housing market needs are subsidies to building and the purchasing of land so that affordable housing can be built and made available for those families in Britain who are without a home.
Whilst I do not feel the house is the place for accusations or base rivalries, I cannot approach the one pence reduction in tax on beer as anything but utterly brazen pandering and a complete lack of awareness from the Chancellor. Mr Deputy Speaker, the men and women up and down this country do not care if they pay three pounds or three pounds and a penny for a pint at the end of a hard day. What they care about are services conspicuously absent from the Chancellor’s announcement today: The NHS, education, and services that protect our children, elderly and vulnerable. This move will cost the treasury 215 million pounds every year, and yet will make no difference whatsoever to the people of this country. It is a pathetic and irresponsible attempt to win positive headlines at the expense of other vital services and the party opposite should be ashamed.
I will at this point state that this party approves of the cancellation of the increase to fuel duty. Many people in this country will have breathed a sigh of relief at that announcement, as the price of petrol in this country remains exceptionally high, with the cost of running a car cutting drastically into every family’s budget. However, what the Chancellor fails to appreciate is the need for a transition in the British people to a sustainable fuel source for our rapidly expanding number of motor owners. Does the Chancellor know that to convert a car to run on vegetable oil, a widely available and sustainable form of fuel, a converter costs a mere £20? What I would like to know is why the Government is not redirecting this fuel cut into an incentive based transition to a more economically and environmentally stable fuel source.
The cutting of the 50pc tax rate is the most ridiculous of the Chancellor’s proposals today, but it does not surprise me. Everyone around him stands to gain from this, and everyone in my constituency stands to lose out on the damage this will do to the treasury’s income. It’s a simple matter of looking out for himself, though I expect that the people of this country did not think they would be subject to the whims of millionaires when they didn’t elect this shambolic government. Much like the Liberal Democrats sit there and play lapdog to the Conservatives, so do the Conservatives sit and play lapdog to the bankers and business owners who exploit the working and middle class of this country. This is why there is a reduction in corporation tax, despite how that turned out for Ireland, despite the leading business nation of the world having a corporation tax of 45%. Mr. Deputy Speaker, the Chancellor’s decision on corporation tax is not based in any way on economics but on who he knows and who he really serves. Hint: It isn’t the 99% of this country who hold it up.
What the opposition and the people of this country would like to see, Mr. Deputy Speaker, is a budget which reflects their concerns for this country and invests in our services and our young people. Whilst I would be happy to share my ideas with the Chancellor, it is the opposition’s view that he should be consulting members of the public – not just members of his constituency, and certainly not members of his old Eton group of associates – but the average people of this country who have nothing in common with the cabinet of millionaires sat opposite.
I think the Chancellor would find that a People’s Budget looks very different from a Millionaires’ one.