The 2016 Budget has been hailed ‘a toxic dose of austerity’ by Green Party leader Natalie Bennett.
Early calculations show that the poorest ten per cent of families see no gain from income tax cuts in the budget but the richest ten per cent get almost £200 a year.
Bennett said: “The Chancellor’s repeated claim that the Tories have a long-term economic plan that is delivering a stronger economy is looking more absurd by the day. Let’s not forget that this latest round of savage cuts is partly driven by the fact that that economy is £18bn smaller than the Office for Budget Responsibility expected only four months ago.
“Sadly, our faltering economy is not the only driver behind this latest toxic dose of austerity. Osborne, the most ideologically rigid chancellor this country has ever seen, has proved time and again that he is hell-bent on ignoring the needs of the majority in our society, and the urgency of climate change, so as to deliver a greater share of our wealth to the richest and vested interests like the fossil fuel industries.
“The sweeping cuts to disability benefits, that could see 500,000 people lose up to £150 a week, are particularly troubling. Far too many times we have seen this government make the poor and vulnerable pay for the greed and fraud of the bankers.”
Other take-aways include:
- The amount people can earn before having to pay income tax will rise to £11,500 in April 2017.
- A sugar levy on soft drinks.
- Fuel duty freeze.
- Infrastructure projects such as HS3 rail scheme and widening the M62 between Leeds and Manchester.
- Beer duty frozen.
- Disability budget to rise by more than £1 billion.