The Tories have once again left whole communities behind - unionstogether

The Tories have once again left whole communities behind - Ian Lavery

On the eve of the final budget of this depressing Parliament – the first in living memory where the standard of living for ordinary men and women is worse at the end than it was at the start – the Tories have given us one final reminder of who they are - and more importantly who they stand up for.

A document leaked to the Guardian revealed that the Tories are plotting a major tax-giveaway ‘designed to benefit the most wealthy’. The measure would potentially save some of the wealthiest households – in homes worth up to £2million – a massive £140,000 each.

It will cost the Treasury £1bn.

And yet, at the same time, they are claiming to try to “save” the same £1bn which they would give away so freely in a pre-election bribe, by introducing the Bedroom Tax – a cruel and punitive tax which has devastated families in my community and beyond.

The government call it “tough choices” and move on.

But for a young man in my constituency, hit by the tax, this isn’t academic – his weekly income has dropped from £72 to £47 and he can no longer afford the basics in life.

And it isn’t academic for the social worker - working harder and harder to maintain the service for the clients they care desperately about - despite massive cuts and a pay-freeze which has lasted 4 years and left them demoralised.

Let’s be clear - this is a Government which has made political choices and dressed it up as necessity. A Tory government which has once again abandoned, or ignored, communities like my own while giving a tax cut to millionaires worth £100,000.

And a Government which intends to plough on with its attack on the poorest with a further £12bn in welfare cuts.

Their own figures even show that 30% of children in the North-East are now living in poor households once living costs are factored in.

But this lot have made their political choices – Osborne’s final budget won’t address the problems of low-pay, insecurity or inequality – so we need to get out there and kick them out ourselves.

 Ian Lavery is the Labour MP for Wansbeck in the North-East, Chair of the Trade Union Group of Labour MPs and former President of the National Union of Mineworkers. 

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