Budget Resolutions and Economic Situation — Amendment of the Law

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:38 pm on 25th March 2013.

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Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South 5:38 pm, 25th March 2013

I will accept your ruling, Mr Deputy Speaker.

Why was there nothing in the Budget about manufacturing green technology? If that was the Budget’s intention, it could hardly be any less green than it is. This Government launch initiatives, but then seem to forget them. In 2001, the Chancellor of the Exchequer pledged that 100,000 people would be able to buy their own home; 18 months later, only 1,500 had done so. I hope that this will not be the fate of the schemes announced in last week’s Budget, too.

Public sector workers have had yet another 1% pay cut levied on them. As I understand the Chancellor’s Budget statement, this will probably last until 2015. I believe that 1.4 million public sector workers, including nurses, paramedics, midwives and prison staff, are affected by that policy. Those jobs are spread out across the country rather than being just London-based. Rather than cutting those people’s pay by 1%, putting more money in the pockets of these workers would be an excellent way to stimulate demand across the country. Instead, the Government are stifling those workers’ spending ability. Furthermore, a high proportion of women in the public sector will be affected. I fear that the Government’s approach will hurt working women disproportionately. It certainly does not encourage aspiration.

Cuts in funding for Coventry city council will hit the most vulnerable people in the city. The council’s community services director must make a third of its £63 million budget cuts by 2016. Last week cuts of £6 million were announced, which will mean the closure of day care centres used by hundreds of elderly and disabled people, the axing of subsidies for transport to day centres, the ending of housing-with-care bedsit schemes for the vulnerable, and the cutting of housing-related support that is currently provided for the elderly and disabled. Roughly 160 carers are expected to lose their jobs. It is predicted that thousands of elderly people will be affected, as well as people with learning disabilities, Alzheimer’s and mental health problems.

We should judge our society according to how we treat the most vulnerable, the old, the sick and the young, not according to how we treat our millionaires. We are failing fast, and this Budget will do nothing to help those people.