Sunderland council leader blasts George Osborne's 'fiscal ineptitude' after Budget

Paul Watson
Paul Watson
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Sunderland City Council leader Coun Paul Watson said local authorities were bearing the brunt of Government policy after the Budget statement.

“The Chancellor’s fiscal ineptitude and inability to balance the books have led to this suggestion of a further £3.5billion in public sector cuts in 2019/2020,” he said.

“Councils and the public have already more than played their part in this Government’s austerity programme.

“Here in Sunderland we are already looking at taking another £115million out of council budgets over the next four years.

“There are major questions on the implementation of business rates reform and 100%t business rates retention.

“We still have a low tax base and don’t generate enough business rates income without Government top-ups.”

Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson said: “The Chancellor’s budget speech was an admission of failure.”

“He has failed to drive up productivity, revised down economic growth and is being forced to borrow more than he planned.

“The Budget did nothing to address the chronic lack of investment areas of the North East face when compared to other parts of the country.

“The Chancellor failed to give a commitment to fund infrastructure projects such as vitally needed new rolling stock for the Metro or investment in extending light rail to constituencies like my own.”

Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott added: “This Budget will do nothing to boost jobs and growth in the North East.

“There was nothing to help the Women Against State Pension Inequality Campaign nor young people in Sunderland.”

Jonathan Walker, North East Chamber of Commerce (NECC) head of policy and campaigns said: “We are pleased our lobbying helped secure a firm commitment to upgrade both the A66 and A69.

“However, we are disappointed the Chancellor has not heeded calls for further detail on big reforms such as the apprenticeship levy.”