TUC, IFS and Greens probe budget claims and agenda

By staff writers
23 Mar 2011

The Institute for Fiscal Studies says that measures due to come into place in April 2011 will be equivalent to a loss of £200 per household on average.

However, that figure rises to £480 per household if the January rise in VAT is included. Its more detailed analysis will be published later today.

Green Party of England and Wales leader Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, said that the 2011 budget had failed to live up to the challenges of economy and environment.

She said that the government "should be fostering the development of a sustainable economy, not producing a budget relying on unsustainable growth.

"It should crack-down on tax evasion and avoidance and ensure that banks and corporations pay their full share and it should use this extra taxation to support, rather than cut, public services."

Instead, the Chancellor has cut corporation tax to the lowest level in the G7 economies, and his pledge to tacklecorporate tax avoidance "does not go nearly far enough."

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said that in the iwder economic horizon: "Today has been a no-change budget. The Chancellor has been forced to reveal the evidence that his policies aren't working but has not had the courage to change them."

"Mr Osborne's measures do nothing to end the basic error of imposing deep, rapid and unfair spending cuts on an economy where unemployment is rising and growth faltering," said the trade union leader.

He continued: "While there are some welcome measures on funding for apprenticeships and much needed relief on fuel duty, most of today is about taking us back to the 1980s with deregulation gimmicks, hand-outs to big business and a deterioration of working conditions that failed to deliver jobs or growth then and won't today.

"Overall, there was little in the way of help for hard pressed ordinary people fearful for their jobs and reeling from inflation driven by the VAT increase. And for the young unemployed the best the Chancellor had to offer was cut-price unpaid work experience.

"Now workers learn that they are set for stealth increases in their tax every year as the Chancellor switches tax rate increases to CPI in the same way that he has already hit pensions and benefits," said Barber.

Labour leader Ed Miliband said the Chancellor's claim to have delivered a "Budget for growth" was belied by the government's cuts, which are were damaging the economic recovery.

"One fact says it all and he couldn't bring himself to say it: Growth down last year, this year and next year... It's hurting but it isn't working," said Mr Miliband.

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Ekklesia's budget 2011 reporting and comment can be found at: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/Budget2011

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