Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP Tom Blenkinsop, said today (21st March 2012) that George Osborne’s budget was “one devised by a millionaire to help other millionaires”.
Tom continued “The cut of the 50p top income tax band to 45p will only benefit those with great wealth. They are not found here on Teesside. Only 5,000 people are estimated to be in this band in the North East, against 195,000 in London and its leafy suburbs. This is a straight transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich. This goes hand in hand, also, with the cut to Corporation Tax.
He also outlined further attacks on the quality of life for working people and their families, with threats to keep reviewing pension age upwards, more draconian welfare changes and the driving through of cuts to public sector wages in regions like the North East from this autumn onwards.
The announcements on infrastructure spending also totally ignore Teesside. We saw announcements of big new transport spending for airport expansion in the South East and for a big expansion of the London tube system – but nothing for the North East at all.
But what was most noticeable was what was not announced. There was no commitment to even think about reversing previous hikes in VAT, a straight refusal to look at ways to cut the fuel duty burden that affects car drivers, transport firms and bus companies and no mention whatsoever of measures to tackle unemployment in areas like ours.
It was a budget drawn up by a public schoolboy and signed off by his old Etonian boss, the Prime Minister. It is a budget that reflects their class and their world view. It is, alas, a budget that will not help any of my local constituents in any real way at all.”