TORY Chancellor Osborne yesterday delivered a Budget that continues the savage austerity war on the working class, while handing billions to big business and the banks.
Despite Osborne’s claim of ‘a Britain that is growing, creating jobs and paying its way’, Labour leader Miliband pointed out that the Tories have ‘only paid down half the deficit’ and ‘there will be more extreme cuts’.
Miliband added that while Osborne announced £30bn more cuts in public spending, ‘he left out the NHS’ and that ‘the prime minister earlier announced education cuts’.
Miliband continued to warn: ‘There are massive cuts planned in defence, the police and local government, but that won’t be enough. They will have to cut the NHS.
‘That is their secret plan that dare not speak its name, planned NHS cuts. And there will have to be massive cuts in social care.’
Following his glowing opening remarks about the UK economy, Osborne told MPs: ‘We choose, as the central judgement of this Budget, to use whatever additional resources we have to get the deficit and the debt falling.’
He added: ‘This Budget commits us to the difficult decisions to eliminate our deficit and get our national debt share falling.’
In a bid for the middle class vote, he said: ‘This Budget backs the self-employed, the small business-owner and the homebuyer.’
He said the government needed to ‘stick to its long-term economic plan’ when ‘global economic risks are rising’.
While forecasting UK growth of 2.3%, Osborne went on to say: ‘We will also use this opportunity to lock in the historically low interest rates for the long term.’
He boasted that ‘welfare bills are set to be an average of £3 billion a year lower’.
Determined to prop up the banks, he added that ‘we will use the resources from the bank sales and the lower interest payments and the lower welfare bills to pay down the national debt’.
He warned that ‘lower borrowing and falling debt as a share of GDP will only continue with a credible plan to control public spending and welfare’.
He added that already: ‘We have legislated for welfare savings of over £21 billion a year … But the job of repairing our public finances is not done.
‘National debt as a share of GDP is now falling … And in order to deliver that falling debt share we need to achieve the £30 billion further savings that are necessary by 2017-18.
‘I am clear exactly how that £30 billion can be achieved: £13 billion from government departments, £12 billion from welfare savings, £5 billion from tax avoidance, evasion and aggressive tax planning.’
He said: ‘The share of income tax paid by the top 1% of taxpayers is projected to rise from 25% in 2010 to over 27% this year – that is higher than any one of the thirteen years of the last government.’
However, he added later that ‘the threshold at which people pay the higher tax rate will rise not just with inflation – but above inflation. It will rise from £42,385 this year to £43,300 by 2017-18.’
Osborne said he supported the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ and singled out ‘the devolution of power over skills, transport and now health budgets’ in Greater Manchester, which will now ‘keep 100% of the additional growth in local business rates’.
He went on to announce ‘the extension of eight enterprise zones across Britain’.