That is why we support the increase in the lower-rate threshold, but we have concerns that shifting the thresholds in that way actually benefits higher earners too much.
At the bottom of the Budget is a Chancellor who, as some have mentioned, is more interested in his political career than the welfare of disabled people, and more interested in becoming the leader of his party than in the health of our economy. He is not a Chancellor but a political chancer. I pay tribute to colleagues on both sides of the House who forced him to U-turn on his proposed cuts to disabled people.
This is not a one-nation, compassionate Budget—nobody believes that—but a Budget shot through with unfairness at its heart. Even one of the Chancellor’s own Cabinet colleagues last week denounced it as fundamentally divisive and unfair. It is not a competent Budget. It fell apart within a couple of days, and the Chancellor still cannot explain how he will fill the £4 billion hole. This is not a Budget for the long term either—a long-term economic plan that lasts three days? It is a Budget built around short-term political tactics and it has backfired spectacularly. They used to say that a week was a long time in politics but, under this Chancellor, a weekend is the length of a long-term economic plan. What a failure!
This is not a Budget for the economy or the country, either, but one that is constructed around self-imposed austerity. It is about politics—incompetent politics at that —not economics, and it has blown up in the Chancellor’s face. For the sake of his party—he might think about that—and certainly for the sake of the country, it is time for him to go.