Commenting on the budget, Mike O’Brien said today,
“It was a missed opportunity. A dull budget that will change little for the hard working families of North Warwickshire and Bedworth. It neither merits the hype by Tory MPs nor is it worth attacking. It’s really not much of a budget at all.
“This has been called a ‘vote less recovery’ because the Conservatives have gained little credit for it. Most people know that by May 2010 the economy was recovering from the banking crisis, but then George Osborne came in and put on the brakes by cutting living standards. As a result the economy stalled for three years. Prices have risen faster than wages in 44 out of 45 months and people have been left poorer by an average of £1,600 a year. By 2015 history will have been made because this will be the first government in over a 100 years to leave families poorer than when it came to office.
“The reality is that the Chancellor has had to spend to get the economy going. He has spent in two ways. Firstly, he has encouraged a pre election house building boom, with a new planning laws and financial incentives to buy houses. Secondly, his favourite financial instrument has been Quantative Easing – the Bank of England has offered vast amounts of money at very low interest rates. So we have now seen the economy starts to recover.
“But this is a very ideological Chancellor, who believes in a small state. He has cut public services, but spent more money on things like tax cuts for millionaires. The affluent have got richer, whilst hard working families have suffered a cost of living crisis to pay for it.
“The main change in the budget was on private pensions, but it is just giving back to some people what the Chancellor has taken away over the last three years. Quantative Easing kept interest rates low and this has hit savers; so the Chancellor has told pensioners they don’t have to buy annuities. This is potentially a cheap way of raising taxes. He has calculated that if pensioners don’t have to buy annuities, they will spend more money earlier and pay more tax and at the same time boost the economy.”