Major Labour figures have come out today to condemn George Osborne’s reforms, which have been described as “a typical Tory Budget”.
Among those criticising the Chancellor’s set-piece announcements were Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale and Labour’s London Mayor candidate Sadiq Khan, who described the speech as “an anti-London Budget”.
Dugdale hit out at the Conservatives’ failure to meet their own economic targets and said the Budget would not help tackle inequality.
“It has delivered tax cuts for the better off and spending cuts for everybody else,” she said. “The Chancellor has failed on all the targets he set himself and has had to revise growth down because his policies have continued to choke our country’s recovery. This has been the slowest recovery in living memory and today’s growth forecasts confirm this.”
“This is a typical Tory Budget,” the Scottish Labour leader said.
Her comments were echoed by Shadow Scottish Secretary Ian Murray, who said the Budget was reminiscent of Osborne’s previous attempts, with its missed targets and slashed Government spending.
“This is the sixth budget that George Osborne has given and it’s Groundhog Budget Day,” Murray said. “Once again the Chancellor has missed all the targets he set himself and has had to implement even more savage cuts”
Both Khan and Shadow Housing minister John Healey criticised Osborne’s failure to tackle with the housing crisis.
“The one thing that London needed most from this Budget was new support to fix the housing crisis – which has gone from bad to worse under the Tories,” said mayoral frontrunner Khan.
“Yet there was nothing to help deliver the thousands of new, affordable homes Londoners desperately need each year. Housing costs in London continue to soar – and it’s shocking that this Budget does nothing to help make housing affordable for Londoners.
“This was also another anti-London Budget. What have the Tories got against Londoners?”
Healey said it now looks like the Tories have given up “even trying” to deal with housing situation in the UK.
“There was a big hole in this Budget where housing should have been,” the Shadow Cabinet minister said. “The Budget was a huge let-down for the young people and families on ordinary incomes struggling with the cost of housing.”
“There was nothing on new affordable homes to rent or buy, nothing on the new investment needed, and nothing on dealing with the causes of the scandal of soaring homelessness.
“This is a Government with no long-term housing plan for the country. On the evidence of today’s Budget, George Osborne is not just failing to fix our housing crisis, he’s given up even trying.”
Figures from Labour’s centre-left also joined in the chorus of opposition to Osborne’s announcements, with former shadow Chancellor Chris Leslie and former shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Rachel Reeves adding their voices.
Reeves accused Osborne of giving greater attention to political manoeuvres than building a strong economic recovery and attempting to put himself in a position to succeed David Cameron by winning favour with Tory MPs.
“This Budget continues George Osborne’s past form of putting short-term political objectives against the long term interests of our country,” Reeves said. “He has prioritised pleasing the backbenchers on whom his personal ambitions depend over the need for reform and investment to back Britain’s businesses and raise living standards and opportunities for Britain’s working families.”
“He has kicked the decisions necessary to deliver his deficit reduction timetable into the long grass. And behind this lies his failure to deliver his promise to build a stronger, rebalanced economy based on higher saving, investment and exports.”
Leslie, who also served as Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury under Ed Miliband, spoke in the Budget debate to highlight the failures of the Tories’ economic record over the past six years.
“This is a Budget where debt is revised up, growth down, earnings down, productivity falters and local services are hammered. It’s not a Budget the Government should be proud of,” he said.