- Disabled people on Disability Living Allowance will face humiliating tests with the aim of cutting their benefits
- Raising VAT to 20% will add £425 a year to average family spending. The increase in tax allowances is worth £170 – unless you are in the poorest three million households when you get nothing but still pay the VAT hike. Cameron said on 1 April ’Our plans don’t involve an increase in VAT’. Clegg said on 8 April ‘Our plans do not require a rise in VAT.’
- Public sector pay freeze. Low paid workers in the NHS, schools and other public services will see their pay cut by at least 6% over the next two years, as pay is frozen and inflation rises by 3% a year. ‘Protecting’ the lowest paid means little more than a 1% increase for those on less than 21k – a real terms cut of 4%.
- Households on more than 40k will lose their tax credits. Exactly the middle income families the Tories denied they would attack a few weeks ago.
- Child benefit will be frozen for three years – a cut of up to 10% on one of the most vital methods of supporting families and children.
As an attack of low and middle income families this budget goes beyond what Thatcher and Major did in the last Tory Government. I wonder if the Tories remember their 2008 poster?
The only surprise is the cowardly and greedy way the Liberals have backed them. Especially after this campaign they launched only a few weeks ago here in Scotland…
Before I tell you the decision of who I think should lead the Labour party, first we should all be angry about losing elections, not for the puerile sake of winning and losing but because when Labour lose elections we leave the fate of our country and the fate of those who rely upon Labour MPs the most for protection in the hands of a Conservative government, which as history always shows lets them down.
This is never as more obvious as in a constituency like ours in Glasgow. Take unemployment for example, despite the recession unemployment across our city is still around 22% down on 1997 levels, that’s incredible considering the recession meant that it has almost doubled since 2008 – when it was down by almost 60% on 1997 levels.
The destination of school leavers in our city went from 17% going to university in 1997 to 47.5% by 2009. Life expectancy in Glasgow, known for being among the lowest in the UK, has gone up and the system of tax credits has lifted many thousands of my constituents out of poverty. These may seem like endless lists of statistic’s to some but behind these figures are names and faces; I see young people I have known from childhood who have broken away from paths of long-term unemployment that were well trodden by their parents.
All this is what has influenced me on who I want to lead the party. As these things don’t happen by chance, they don’t fall out of the sky – let’s be clear – this came about due to a Labour government. But most importantly a Labour government that had strong leadership at its heart; as well as the determination to drive through its vision and policy past the barriers of bureaucracy and into implementation. Something I have learnt from my time at Westminster is the importance of strong leadership.
Whilst he headed up the Department of Children Schools & Families, Ed made tough decisions and coherently defended them. In addition, during Ed’s time at the Treasury he was at the centre of many of the bold that I have mentioned, which changed the lives of many people in this country like people in our constituency. As well as being at the heart of key decisions like making the Bank of England independent and not letting Britain enter the Euro.
Ed has the right characteristics that I think would be needed in a leader and future PM and this is why I am nominating Ed Balls for leader of the Labour Party.