Jeremy Corbyn condemns Conservative Budget as “appalling attack” on poor families and young people

MP for Islington North Jeremy Corbyn

MP for Islington North Jeremy Corbyn - Credit: Archant

Chancellor George Osborne presented the first Conservative Budget in 20 years to Parliament yesterday

The MP for Islington North has called for the Conservative economic strategy to be “significantly challenged” in the wake of yesterday’s Budget announcement.

Mr Corbyn, who is running for the leadership of the Labour party, told MPs: “The Budget we’ve just received today is the first Tory budget for a very long time’s a bit like this is the land that time forgot.

“It’s exactly the same, exactly the same narrative of cutting taxation for the very richest, making life worse for the very poorest and selling off state assets to pay for it all along the way.”

Mr Osborne yesterday unveiled a package of economic measures that would save £34bn over this parliament, including £12bn of controversial welfare cuts such as lowering the cap on benefits from £26,000 to £23,000 and limiting tax credits and universal credit support to the first two children from April 2017.

Cllr Andy Hull, Executive Member for Finance of Islington Council voiced concerns that capping benefits at £23,000 “will hit an additional 575 households in the borough, on top of the 250 already affected by the current cap, and could impoverish 1,000 more local children.”

He joined Mr Corbyn in branding the Conservative Budget as “an attack on families and those in low-paid work, as the government looks to balance the nation’s books on the backs of the poor.

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“When people fall through the increasingly threadbare safety net, it is councils that are left to pick up the pieces at the taxpayer’s expense. But how are we meant to do that when our own budgets are being cut to the bone?”

Other contentious measures included axeing maintenance grants for university students from low income backgrounds in place of maintenance loans that they would need to pay back once they are earning over £21,000. Mr Osborne also outlined freezes to local housing allowances, meaning housing benefits will not keep up with rising private sector rents.

Mr Corbyn criticised the Conservatives’ “anti-benefit narrative” and that the Chancellor has “done nothing” to address the housing shortage, including the lack of council housing and housing association properties being built.

He said: “So what we are doing by stealth is privatising the housing associations and by forcing them to sell off their properties. So what happens to young people who can’t afford to buy, there’s no bank of mum and dad, can’t afford to rent, where do they end up living?”

He added: “I long for the day when there’s a Chancellor of the Exchequer who gets up to introduce a budget in the way that very few have in the past which says the priority is to have an expanding sustainable economy, with sustainable jobs in an environmentally friendly way and to eliminate poverty and destitution at the same time.