8 March 2017
Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Spring Budget utterly failed to address the challenges facing Tower Hamlets, London and the rest of the country today. With our NHS and social care in crisis, and air pollution contributing to 40,000 lives prematurely ending in the UK each year, this budget should have been an emergency intervention. Instead, the Chancellor revealed the extent of the Government’s obsession with scaling back the state.
This Budget was a chance for the Government to take a stand for public services like the Royal London Hospital, our excellent GPs surgeries and our stretched social care services, which we all rely on. But the funding changes announced for the NHS and social care are woefully inadequate and instead of investing in our hospitals and care homes the Government is continuing to push ahead with planned Corporation tax cuts and handouts to high earners. While the measures on business rates were welcome, like the measures on social care, they are just too little too late.
The Chancellor also utterly failed to get a grip on the air pollution emergency currently facing the country. While the cost of motoring has dropped in recent years Londoners, and Tower Hamlets residents in particular know only too well that the cost of public transport is rocketing. We should have seen the fuel duty escalator unfrozen and the money ploughed into public transport – not more handouts for motoring and persistent neglect for cleaner, healthier forms of transport.
On top of this the Spring Budget followed the trend set by Hammond’s Autumn Statement in failing to even mention climate change. Tower Hamlets desperately needed the Chancellor to announce real solutions to the problems facing the London today – now it will be down to local communities, campaigners, residents and public sector workers to pick up the pieces for his utter failure to do so.
Co-Chair, Tower Hamlets Green Party