Autumn Statement - for the few, not the many

It is clear from the Autumn Statement, presented last week, that this Government has failed spectacularly to meet the targets to reduce the deficit.  The Chancellor George Osborne committed to clearing the deficit in this Parliament.  Instead they gave a tax cut to millionaires and families have found themselves on average £1600 a year worse off.

This Statement highlights the significant failure to deliver on their main promise – to balance the books before 2015. Instead, the Government has borrowed £219billion more than he had planned, and the economy is set to slow down next year after forecasts for wages have been revised down again.

What we needed from the Autumn Statement was the better and fairer plan and a balanced approach, which deals with our debts, but does so sensibly.

Labour’s plan will raise the minimum wage, expand free childcare for working parents, scrap the bedroom tax and cut business rates for small firms. We will balance the books in a fairer way, starting by reversing the Tories’ £3 billion a year tax cut for the top one per cent of earners.

Changing stamp duty to help people on middle and low incomes is welcome, and I’m glad to see that George Osborne is taking on board Labour Party initiative that recognises the unfair tax system currently in place, as we have promised through a ‘Mansion Tax’ on homes worth over £2 million.  This will provide extra money for our NHS which we need to help transform our NHS and Scotland will benefit with Barnett consequentials.

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Ian Murray for Edinburgh South