Updates from Westminster - Smoke and Mirrors

A SPENDING REVIEW OF SMOKE AND MIRRORS

The truth is out about George Osborne’s Spending Review. It’s nothing more than smoke and mirrors, which still leaves working people worse off and fails to address the big challenges facing the country.

Although Osborne was forced to bow to Labour pressure and make a U-turn on his unfair tax credit cut, working people are still worse off under the Tories. Osborne has just found another way to take money from working families in the long run, as tax credits will eventually be replaced by universal credits.

IFS research backed up what we have been saying. They have shown that George Osborne has not reversed his welfare cuts, he has just delayed them, and 2.6 million families will still be on average £1600 worse off by 2020 from cuts of over £3 billion to Universal Credit.

Labour is the only party truly on the side of working people and we understand the pressures that people face day-to-day. We will continue to stand up for people up and down the country and expose the utter chaos that George Osborne and the Conservatives are causing to our economy. Austerity is a political choice and not an economic necessity.

Labour would get the benefit bill down by tackling the causes of poverty such as low pay and housing shortages. We have a clear and better alternative that puts the interests of the British people first. The same certainly cannot be said of the Tories.

WE CAN’T TRUST OSBORNE OVER HOUSING

The Chancellor made a number of announcements on housing in his spending review. But after careful analysis his pledges are already starting to unravel.  It is clear that the Tories should be judged by their actions and not their words.

Osborne promised an increase in housing investment, a doubling of the housing budget. But new analysis shows that under the Tories the budget has almost halved compared to the investment plans that he inherited from Labour. Therefore this is an actual cut in investment.

He promised “400,000 affordable new homes”, but he’s double-counting 250,000 which have been previously committed. Therefore he’s promised ‘new’ homes that are not new.

He promised to build homes that are “affordable”. But his so-called ‘starter homes’ could require first time buyer incomes of £100,000 a year, and new analysis from Shelter suggests that shared ownership properties could be unaffordable to more than half of all households across the country. Therefore he’s promised ‘affordable’ homes that will not be affordable.

Responding to the Chancellor’s announcements, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Housing and Planning said “After five years of failure from the Tories, with home-ownership having fallen each and every year since 2010 and house-building down to its lowest level since the 1920s during George Osborne’s time at the Treasury, we needed much better from the Chancellor. Labour will continue to press the government to build more homes that are genuinely affordable to young people and families on ordinary incomes, to rent and to buy.”

LABOUR VICTORY OVER POLICE CUTS

Under the Tories, 17,000 Police officershave been lost since 2010. And, ahead of the Spending Review, the Police Service was facing a further catastrophe of being cut in half. But thanks to the efforts of the Labour Party, the police and the British public we successfully forced the Chancellor into a U-turn. In his Spending Review statement, Osborne announced he would protect the police budget and ditch his planned cuts.

With more than 10,000 signatures backing a petition to save neighbourhood policing it was clear the public overwhelming stood with Labour’s position. The Government’s plans to cut the Police by between 25% and 40% could have led to the loss of over 20,000 more and would have spelt the end of neighbourhood policing, putting the public at risk.

The right decision has been made given the variety of threats the UK is facing, including terrorism, cybercrime and the significant increase in the reporting of sexual assaults and child abuse. We are pleased that the Chancellor has been forced to listen to our calls to protect front line policing from further extreme Tory cuts. Labour will continue to stand up for our forces who do a brilliant job of protecting the British people.



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