Autumn Budget

The test of a modern budget seems to be whether it survives past the weekend before it falls apart.  In that respect the Chancellor probably gets to keep his job, but his lack of ambition means others may lose theirs.

Some of the measures are welcome.  The alcohol duty freeze and pub business rate changes are responses to popular campaigns.  More money for the NHS is always welcome but the truth is there’s more money for Brexit preparations in this budget than the NHS.  Easing Universal Credit rules are also a step forward but many will still wait too long for help and debts will rise.

The devil is in the detail.  Growth is set to fall and people in work as well as out of work will continue to see their incomes fall.  The reality is the Chancellor needed to go much further in investment, end austerity and tackle the economic uncertainty arising from Brexit.

The country needs a step change in economic thinking.  We need more support for small businesses, not just this weekend on Small Business Saturday but every day.  We need to support local foodbanks over the next few tough months but we need jobs that pay decent wages in the first place. And while I welcome the North of Tyne devolution deal we need to go further in devolving more resources and powers, closer to the people and businesses we serve.

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