George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has today made his 2016 Budget Speech in the House of Commons. Osborne announced that growth forecasts were being cut back and he also warned of the dangers of the UK leaving the European Union.
New spending cuts were announced to help balance the books and the Chancellor confirmed that the annual budget deficit would be cleared by 2020. There will also be a new tax on sugar drinks and all schools will be required to become academies by 2022.
Concluding his speech the Chancellor said:
“Five years ago, we set out a long-term plan because we wanted to make sure that Britain never again was powerless in the face of global storms. We said then that we would do the hard work to take control of our destiny and put our own house in order. Five years later, our economy is strong, but the storm clouds are gathering again. Our response to this new challenge is clear. We act now so we do not pay later.
This is our Conservative Budget. One that reaches a surplus so the next generation does not have to pay our debts. One that reforms our tax system so the next generation inherits a strong economy. One that takes the imaginative steps so the next generation is better educated. One that takes bold decisions so that our children grow up fit and healthy.
This is a Budget that gets the investors investing, savers saving, businesses doing business, so that we build for working people a low-tax, enterprise Britain, secure at home, strong in the world. I commend to the House a Budget that puts the next generation first”.
Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, said in response to the budget:
“The Budget the Chancellor has just delivered is actually the culmination of six years of his failures. It is a recovery built on sand and a Budget of failure. The Chancellor has failed on the budget deficit, failed on debt, failed on investment, failed on productivity, failed on the trade deficit, failed on the welfare cap and failed to tackle inequality in this country. Today he has announced that growth is revised down last year, this year and every year he has forecast. Business investment is revised down and Government investment is revised down”.
Tim Farron, the Leader of the Liberal Democrats, said:
“This is the Chancellor’s sweet and sour Budget. He makes bold claims that never materialise, masking real pain. There is no serious immediate investment in transport, broadband, housing or green energy, just far-off plans that exist only on a Whitehall spreadsheet—plans written by political advisers no doubt high-fiving each other in the boardroom over grand announcements that will never actually materialise, ignorant of their impact on real people.
The Chancellor talks about fixing the roof when the sun is shining. There are 0% interest rates. The sun is shining yet he chooses to knock holes in the roof. This would be the moment to be ambitious and to invest in the infrastructure for the long term economic future of our country. On the one side, we have a Government choosing to attack the very fabric of our communities, and sadly, on the other, an Opposition too focused on themselves to be able to stand up for the real people in this country. We owe our constituents, and we owe Britain, better than this. It is time that we had a Government who showed a little more respect to the people in this country who care for us, who teach our children, and who keep us safe. Britain deserves better”.