Budget is not all it seems

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Liberal Democrat pressure in the House of Lords has forced George Osborne into a chastening U-turn over cuts to tax credits.

The Chancellor’s proposals would have seen that the vast majority of Sunderland’s working poor were worse off by nearly £1,800 per year.

Mr Osborne’s volte-face has also made clear that the Liberal Democrats are the real opposition to this Tory Government, rather than the warring Labour Parliamentary Party.

Even so, the country has had to rely on unelected Lords to perform the duties of Her Majesty’s Official Opposition. This, in my view, is an indictment of the Labour Party in opposition. Until Labour starts acting like an effective opposition, our only hope is that the House of Lords continue to act as a robust counterpoint to this ideologically-driven Conservative Government.

The people of Sunderland should not be fooled by the Chancellor’s statement of improved public finances.

Nor should we forget the Chancellor’s ongoing mission to savage the UK’s welfare bill. This will naturally hit the most vulnerable in our society hardest.

The fact that Mr Osborne is, at the same time, cutting inheritance tax for the wealthy shows precisely where the Tories’ priorities lie.

Stephen O’Brien,

Chairman of Wearside Liberal Democrats