Bridget Phillipson MP: Autumn Budget delivered too little too late for North East
Eight years of savage cuts and underinvestment mean our public services are in crisis and our infrastructure is crumbling.
I know from speaking to local people that many of them are worried about the future, and that life has only become harder under eight long years of Tory austerity.
Many hoped the Chancellor would give us a plan to fix the crisis in our public services, make work pay, and unlock our region’s true potential.
This was the government’s opportunity to show it was listening, and change course by investing in our community.
Instead, we got a Budget with scant mention of the North East, and nothing to meet the challenges we face as a country.
As usual, the Tories deny the seriousness of the crisis facing our schools, hospitals and emergency services, ploughing on with more of the same.
Promises of more funding for mental health services, education and social care come as mere sticking plasters for the damage done since 2010.
At a time when schools cannot afford the basics and are laying off teaching assistants, giving them cash for ‘little extras’ is an insult to our children and teachers.
There was nothing on giving our local police the resources they need to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour - despite Northumbria Police suffering bigger cuts than any other police force in the country, and losing 114 officers in the last year alone.
The Budget also failed to address the scandal of in-work poverty, or the shamefully high levels of child poverty that blight our society. Instead, the government is determined to press on with its chaotic rollout of Universal Credit, a system it knows will only make people poorer.
As if this wasn’t enough, the government’s shambolic approach to Brexit means the threat to the economy and jobs grows by the day – something we cannot afford after years of punishing cuts.
Ultimately, this was the government’s opportunity to rescue our local services, and to stand up for working people.
Instead, we got quick fixes that are not nearly enough to rebuild our country after years of economic mismanagement, and will only continue the Tories’ miserable record of failing the north east.