The MP for Newcastle North and Labour’s Shadow Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, reacted after the Chancellor admitted in his Autumn Statement that he will break a key election pledge to get debt falling by the next election, and will also have to keep cutting public spending until 2018 to balance the books.
“The government were warned that their drastic cuts would damage the economy, but they refused to change track – and now we see the results”, said the MP. “Growth forecasts have had to be downgraded yet again; government borrowing and debt projections have been revised up, and a million young people are still out of work. The North East suffers from the highest unemployment rate in the country, yet the Chancellor has not offered anything that will help get unemployment down.
“From start to finish, the Statement was a catalogue of failure and broken promises, very cynically disguised by the Chancellor as good news for the country. This shows just how out of touch the Chancellor is with our region that he still believes he is on the right track.
“Cameron and Osborne are still going ahead with their tax cut for millionaires – giving the richest 1% a £107 000 handout at the same time as they are hitting pensioners with extra tax. This announcement was all about cuts for people on low incomes, and giveaways for the richest. It’s clearer than ever that we are not in all this together.
“Businesses will be pleased to know that Labour’s annual allowance to support investment has been reinstated after being slashed by Osborne in last year’s Budget. Similarly, the Chancellor has had a welcome re-think on the A1 upgrade, reinstating the funding required to bring it up to motorway standard as far as Newcastle. Unfortunately, there was no good news for the stretch of road up to Scotland.
Despite a smattering of good news, the overall picture remains bleak for our economy, particularly for jobs and growth, and the situation looks set to remain grim for the foreseeable future.”