As promised, part two of today’s output from the Party’s Press Team… Fiscal Phil’s sticking plaster Budget Responding to the Chancellor’s Budget, Liberal Democrat Leader and former Business Secretary Vince Cable said: This was all very modest stuff, with more in it for potholes than schools and the police. A standstill non-event. With growth remaining […]
As promised, part two of today’s output from the Party’s Press Team…
Fiscal Phil’s sticking plaster Budget
Responding to the Chancellor’s Budget, Liberal Democrat Leader and former Business Secretary Vince Cable said:
This was all very modest stuff, with more in it for potholes than schools and the police. A standstill non-event.
With growth remaining stubbornly low and Brexit weighing down our economy, it is clear the big problems are still to be tackled. It was a sticking plaster Budget, when major surgery lies ahead.
If we are to see an end to austerity, then we need a proper injection of cash – at least £19bn according to the IFS – in our public services. The Chancellor said he could end austerity without raising taxes, but that is highly unlikely in practice.
The Chancellor dined out on the borrowing improvements the OBR has given him, but these are overshadowed by the damaging impact Brexit will have on the UK’s public finances. These costs, which could reach £80bn a year in the event of ‘no deal’, risk turning today’s Budget into a sideshow.
Conservative Government throwing in the towel on halting climate change
Responding to the the Chancellor’s Budget, former Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey said:
This budget is grossly disappointing for those, like me, who care about fighting climate change and protecting the environment. The Chancellor has simply thrown in the towel.
The Tories have frozen fuel duty, slashed electric car subsides, committed £30bn to new road building and promise to continue at the same level subsidises to the oil and gas industry, while offering a measly £60 million to planting new trees, as if that will negate the damage they’re doing.
Liberal Democrats demand better. We would deliver a green budget, which promises more investment in renewable energy, not fossil fuels, borrowing to invest in infrastructure like rail, buses and electric vehicle charging points.
Budget clouded by Brexit disarray and uncertainty
Responding to the Budget this afternoon, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:
May and Hammond can’t agree what a no-deal Brexit will mean for the Budget. Hammond thinks it will require a whole new, emergency budget while May has attempted to save face and insist the Budget will stand regardless. What a mess.
This fingers-crossed Budget is predicated on the Tories’ hopes that despite the mess they are making of Brexit the economy won’t suffer too severely. In reality, the Tories’ infighting has them gambling with the UK’s finances.
Liberal Democrats demand better. Brexit must not be allowed to make the UK poorer, that is why we need a final vote on the Brexit deal with an option to remain in the EU.
Lib Dems: Gamblers face another year of being held captive to FOBTs
Responding to the Chancellor’s announcement today that the £2 maximum stake for Fixed-Odds-Betting-Terminals will not be implemented until October 2019, former Liberal Democrat Communities Minister Lord Foster said:
We know with absolute certainty that this delay will see yet more lives ruined by these highly addictive machines.
Communities up and down the country see the damage that can be done when hundreds of pounds can be lost in minutes if not seconds, day after day.
Families will be despairing tonight that a problem gambler that they care about faces another full year of living captive to these machines until the Government step-in and do the right thing.
‘Hot air’ Tories abandon commitment to latte levy
Responding to the Chancellor’s announcement that the Government will dump their commitment to a latte levy, Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael said:
It is bitterly disappointing that the Chancellor has abandoned the Government’s commitment to introduce a levy on plastic cups.
It proves the Tories are full of hot air and no credible action. It also proves what I have said all along, that headlines are more important to them than the environment.
Our Environment deserves better. Liberal Democrats will continue to fight for a ban all single-use plastic within three years, the introduction of a levy on all producers and retailers that produce or use single-use plastics and the introduction of a latte levy.
Chancellor’s Universal Credit spending barely recovers half the cuts of his predecessor
Responding to the Chancellor’s Universal Credit plans from the Budget, Liberal Democrat DWP spokesperson Stephen Lloyd said:
After stubbornly resisting for far too long, the Government has finally responded to pressure from the Liberal Democrats and put back some of the money into the Universal Credit Work Allowance, which they stupidly cut the moment we were no longer around to stop them.
However, the £1.7 billion per year the Chancellor committed to still does not make up for the £3 billion pa his predecessor George Osborne slashed from the benefit in 2015. We also heard nothing on ending the gratuitous benefits freeze early, or on making UC fairer for the self-employed.
UC’s serious design flaws were also not addressed, from long waiting times that are pushing people into indebtedness, to problems in how landlords are paid housing benefit. The pain caused by the roll-out of UC is not over yet.
In addition, there were Budget-related releases from Scotland and Wales, which Caron has covered here. I won’t repeat them…