Budget was a ‘missed opportunity for growth’

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LAST week’s Budget speech has been called a missed opportunity for growth by a leading member of the Labour Party in north Bucks.

North Bucks agent for the Labour Party Jon Harvey said the Chancellor George Osbourne set aside established economic principles for a budget which favoured the well paid.

Mr Harvey said: “What we needed was a budget for jobs and economic growth. But instead we got a budget which will help people earning more, pay less.

“And what we desperately need is a way of helping ordinary people manage in difficult times and we did not get that.”

Mr Harvey is also concerned at the impact of scrapping the higher personal allowance for those over 65 years old.

He said: “I hesitate to call it a Granny Tax because it’s not just people already receiving a pension it’s about people about to retire in the next few years who are going to lose out. I Know we argue we should have a fair tax system where everyone has the same threshold, but it seems a regressive tax rather than a progressive approach to taxation where those with more, pay more.”

Mr Harvey said the budget ignored lessons learnt during the 1930s depression and added: “If you cut in times of recession you make things worse. We have got to manager that carefully. This Government is not, resulting in a tail spin downwards. “At the moment the deficit is going up because not enough people are in jobs, spending money and paying tax.”

Meanwhile others criticised the Chancellor for not holding back on the planned 3p hike in fuel duty.

Northampton based Derek Clark, UKIP MEP for the East Midlands said the refusal to scrap the fuel duty increase was a kick in the teeth for hard working families.

Mr Clark said: “People in my constituency - and indeed across the country - are struggling to pay for fuel and by refusing to cut the proposed rise, the Government has gain shown it simply does not understand the challenges people face in their everyday lives.

“The Chancellor should have cut fuel duty and promoted growth - it’s ludicrous the Government keeps clobbering the hard-pressed motorists.”

Mr Clark also said he Chancellor should have helped smaller businesses by tackling the Agency Worker Directive, which gives temporary workers the same rights as full time employee after thee months in a job.

Mr Clark said the directive could cost the economy as many as 100,000 jobs and sits alongside bad legislation like the Working Time Directive which has cost the NHS alone £2billion over the last two years.

Les Sibley, Labour representative in the Bicester area said: “It certainly wasn’t a budget for the elderly, I think they’ve shot themselves in the foot by taking way the age allowance of pensioners, I don’t buy the story they’ve had good deal over the years.

Pensioers I know need every penny. I think this is a case of taking from pensioners, those on child benefits, motorists.

“Somehow I think the ‘we’re in this together’ slogan has gone out of the window.”