This is a pivotal moment in for our country, but more than that it is a once in a generation opportunity to ensure that the recovery from the pandemic doesn’t just go back to how things were before.
When the virus hit the UK, homelessness was eradicated within days. Hospitals were opened within weeks.
This is a budget that forgets about people. The people who have suffered economic and health impacts, and the people that have been there to help them. Most tellingly, the people surviving on the Universal Credit “uplift” that will now be taken away.
The Country needs to see fundamental change, in how we care for the vulnerable, the elderly and the young. How we tackle inequality, how we lay the social foundations that give everyone the same opportunities in life.
We need to adapt to the new realities of retail, and business across the board. Many individual sectors will be hoping to bounce back, but for the wider business community this will be a long hard journey that will need more support than was announced today.
The Chancellor’s budget does not lay the foundations to ensure these issues are dealt with, it is laden with short term fixes that are insufficient to actually resolve any of the issues they are aimed at.
Local Councils are still facing pressures. Local & Emergency services are still running on fumes despite the value they clearly demonstrated over the last 12 months, despite all the clapping.
Just like his Conservative Chancellor predecessors, the age old problems that deepen because of his lack of vision and ambition will fully materialise only once he has safely moved on to new pastures.
A glass half full, however well polished is not enough to meet the needs of the moment and seize the opportunities of the future.
Cllr Kieran Thorpe
Labour Group Leader
Welwyn Hatfield Labour Party