Autumn Budget: Hackney MP Diane Abbott says chancellor is robbing the poor to pay the rich
Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington
- Credit: PA
The Budget was an opportunity to help people struggling with higher bills and tackle the crisis in the NHS and schools. But the Chancellor Rishi Sunak did neither.
All the slaps on the back and some favourable media coverage cannot disguise the awful reality of this Budget.
It continues the long and terrible tradition of Tory chancellors and prime ministers ever since 2010, of robbing people on average and low incomes and giving to the rich.
They are a rogues' gallery of Robin Hoods in reverse. Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson belong there just as much as Cameron, Osborne, Hammond and May.
Many of the biggest measures were known in advance. but the effect of drip-feeding to the media over days and weeks is to dilute what they are doing as a package.
A series of measures clobber people who are already struggling. So, the promise to keep the pensions triple-lock has been broken, and leaves our elderly still with some of the lowest state pensions in Europe.
The increase in national insurance is a whopping tax rise, and is unique in that only the ultra high-paid are protected from it.
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And we know that universal credit is being cut, which affects some of the poorest households including millions who are in work.
All this is done in the name of getting the deficit under control.
But if that was really true, how can ministers explain that the bank levy and the bank surcharge have been cut, which costs taxpayers billions?
Those charges on the banks were imposed to make them repay a tiny part of the money we are owed for bailing them out. But now these charges have been cut, and it is the bank shareholders and executives who will benefit.
As a banker himself Rishi Sunak has looked after his own, just as this whole government looks after its own. But this does not include those struggling to get by on the state pension, or on universal credit, or even workers on average pay.
On top of all this there were tax cuts for short haul flights. The government talks a good game about the environment and then does the opposite.
So, a good budget for bankers and the high paid who fly everywhere. For anyone else, it made a bad situation worse.