Rugby TUSC blasts March Budget: does nothing to to tackle the vast inequalities in health and income

BUDGET DOES LITTLE TO ALLIEVIATE POVERTY OR INEQUALITY


Today’s budget was criticised by local Trade Unionists as soon as it was announced. “Today, the Chancellor had the opportunity to provide the financial support needed to lift people out of the poverty brought on by the Covid 19 pandemic,” Pete McLaren, spokesperson of the Rugby Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), told us today, “but he has failed to do so. The Chancellor has attempted short term solutions which do nothing to tackle the vast structural inequalities in health and income highighted by the pandemic.


“Whilst we welcome the extension of the £20 per week increase in Universal Credit, something we had been campaigning for, this a temporary move and simply postpones the loss of over £1,000 a year for millions of families. More and more workers are being forced onto Universal Credit as the economy shrinks and redundancies increase. In addition, those in work will see their incomes fall as a result of today’s decision to freeze income tax thresholds for five years


“Not only that, but there was nothing in this budget for the NHS, and no extra pay for the key workers who have had their pay frozen despite being the heroes of the Covid crisis. No extra money has been found to build the social housing that is so desperately needed, and no extra funding has been provided for local authorities whose services have already been slashed


“Poverty has increased considerably during the pandemic, and today’s budget does nothing to address that. A combination of coronavirus redundancies, income cuts and increased costs mean the poorest families are getting poorer, and child poverty is on the rise. According to the thinktank the Legatum Institute, almost 700,000 people in the UK, including 120,000 children, have been plunged into poverty as a result of the Covid economic crisis. Overall, the pandemic has pushed the total number of people in the UK living in poverty to more than 15 million – 23% of the population – according to the institute


“The Covid-19 crisis has pushed more than two and a half a million people into fuel poverty, partly as a result of staying at home as part of lockdown, and also by working from home. We had hoped this budget would have included fuel debt relief, but the Chancellor was silent on this as well.


“There has been a 110% increase in need for food banks during the pandemic. Urgent action is needed

to significantly reduce the need for charitable food aid provision, but with unemployment rising to a projected two and a half million by the summer, and with furlough, welcome though it has been, actually cutting a worker’s income by 20%, there is an urgent need for government action. None was forthcoming today. Whilst ordinary working people suffer from the health and economic impacts of the pandemic, billionaires have actually seen their fortunes expand. I suppose we did not really expect a Tory government to start to address that,” Pete McLaren concluded.


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