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A budget that leaves the working people of Cumbria & the North East worse off

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Members of Parliament from the North East and Cumbria have today reacted to the Chancellor’s Summer Budget.

Newcastle North MP and Shadow Treasury Minister, Catherine McKinnell, said:

‘A Labour Budget today would have focused on working people – supporting those on middle and low incomes, and taking the steps needed to ensure Britain can become a more productive, higher earning economy.

‘Instead, the Chancellor’s cuts to tax credits will hit millions of families across the country – with some 21,400 children from working families across Newcastle alone currently benefiting from this support.

‘What our region needed from George Osborne was a real plan to deliver the better paid, sustainable jobs of the future. All we got was more flannel from Osborne about his Northern Powerhouse which still doesn’t appear to even acknowledge the North East exists.

‘By continuing to insist on a directly-elected Mayor for an entire region, the Chancellor is holding up the devolution of funding and powers the North East wants and needs.

‘People are rightly cautious about one person having powers over an area stretching from the Scottish Borders to North Yorkshire, and insisting our region sets up another tier of government regardless of public support is a shabby way to do politics.

‘It can’t be right for Cornwall to be given devolution without a Mayor, but the North East is being forced into having one.’

Anna Turley, Labour MP for Redcar said:

“The test for this Budget was whether it supported working families and protected the vulnerable whilst building a more productive economy to pay down the deficit and create more jobs. Instead it has hit working families and offers nothing to boost the economy in the North.

“The increase in the personal tax allowance and a higher minimum wage is welcome support for the low paid, but cuts to tax credits will have a huge impact on low income and working families in Teesside. The Chancellor’s ‘living wage’ of £7.20 is below the £7.85 that experts calculate is needed to meet the cost of living – after his announced tax credit cuts it would need to be even higher to enable families in Redcar to get by. He is giving with one hand and then taking more away with the other.

“Public sector workers who have already had to deal with 5 years of redundancies and pay freezes face another 5 years of the same and far from encouraging aspiration, scrapping university grants for students from low incomes families will saddle the next generation with even more debt.

“The deficit does need to be paid down but it can be done in a much better way than hitting people who are working hard to support their families.

“The Budget also needed to tackle Britain’s productivity problem with delivery on infrastructure and investing in a skilled workforce with more high quality training and apprenticeships. It failed on that too. The government’s commitment to the Northern Powerhouse is in doubt after it paused rail electrification in the North. The only thing this Budget has to offer our region was changing the name of the A1!

“All the government has to offer our region is empty promises on devolution and making life harder for low paid families.”

Sue Hayman, MP for Workington said:

“The Chancellor talks of a High Wage Economy, but has capped public sector pay increases at 1% below inflation for the next four years. This is a cut in real terms, and sends a message that nurses, doctors, teachers and local government workers are not valued as much as those in the private sector.

“His plans for connecting the north of England suggests that the Chancellor has little idea of where Cumbria actually is, as we have been neglected once again in terms of investment in infrastructure and support for our communities.”

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