Tower Hamlets mayor: Spring budget brings 'no respite'
PUBLISHED: 16:51 08 March 2017 | UPDATED: 17:09 08 March 2017
The mayor of Tower Hamlets has slammed the contents of today's spring budget as "sticking plasters" to hide "deep and harmful cuts".
John Biggs argues that the measures announced by chancellor Philip Hammond go “nowhere near far enough to plug the budget gaps”.
Speaking at the House of Commons, Mr Hammond announced a growth forecast upgraded from 1.4 to two per cent. The chancellor also confirmed a relief package of £435m for small businesses, with 90pc of pubs to be given a £1,000 discount on business rates this year.
Further measures announced an increase in tax for some self-employed, and an injection of £2bn into social care over the next three years. Mr Hammond also announced the opening of 100 new free schools, including a new generation of grammar schools.
The chancellor also said an agreement had been reached between the government and the Greater London Authority (GLA) to work together to address congestion and infrastructure funding.
But Mayor Biggs said Mr Hammond’s pledges “go nowhere near far enough”.
“New measures such as additional funding for social care may sound appealing, but they go nowhere near far enough to plug the budget gaps the Conservatives have already created,” he said.
“For nearly seven years, the Conservative government has hammered public finances and this latest budget is more of the same. Sticking plasters and so-called relief measures hide the deep and harmful cuts to public services that have already been imposed.”
Mayor Biggs said that the council would still have to save £58m over the coming years.
“The impact of Tory cuts has been felt very strongly here,” he said. “Residents face a housing crisis, a social care crisis, slashed school funding, an NHS buckling under chronic strain and an uncertain future after Brexit.
“We’ve protected frontline services as far as possible but this latest budget offers no respite from the Tory cuts to our communities.”
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