Commenting on today’ (25th November 2015) Comprehensive Spending Review, Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, Tom Blenkinsop, said:
“George Osborne’s fanciful claim that the North is growing faster than the South is completely devolved from the realities of the job losses Teesside and East Cleveland has suffered in the last couple of months. I’m certain that my constituents will have serious questions for the Chancellor and the Tory Government that has stood by whilst we’ve lost our steel industry and one of the biggest employers in East Cleveland cut 700 jobs.
“Furthermore, the government still lacks a comprehensive strategy for the steel industry and the industry is still waiting on compensation for the carbon price floor tax introduced four years ago. Meanwhile, the majority of the 5 point plan presented by the steel industry at the summit in October seems to have been ignored.
“Other issues from the CSR include the tax credits cuts U-turn – which is a welcome one and will come as a relief to thousands of families across Teesside. However, I fear the devil may be in the detail. For example, I fear that the cut hasn’t been completely abandoned and is just a transitional measure, deferred to tax credits form part of the Universal Credit – assuming the Government ever get to grips with that policy. Nevertheless, credit for today’s announcement must go to the campaigners who have forced this climb down from the Chancellor.
“No doubt that, over the next few hours and days, as the details of the CSR are poured over the full extent of Osborne’s plans will become clearer – the massive cuts to local councils, cutting £360m from adult skills and the climate change tax exemption that will leave steel companies no better off in cash terms are just a few of the gremlins revealed so far.”