Tower Hamlets’ Mayor Lutfur Rahman on George Osborne’s budget


- Credit: Rehan Jamil

Now it is possible to read some of the small print behind George Osborne’s ‘aspirational budget’, my aspiration is that he ceases to be Chancellor of the Exchequer as soon as is possible. Osborne’s ‘Plan A’, hasn’t worked and he won’t consider having a ’Plan B’. The British economy under this Government is having the slowest recovery in over a hundred years. To all intents and purposes, we are now in a depression.

If there have been any winners they have been the already very wealthy who have had a tax cut courtesy of Osborne, and of course the nine bosses of Barclays Bank who managed to award themselves a staggering £39 million on the day that the budget was being announced – hoping that no one would notice.

So with the millionaires laughing all of the way to the bank, a typical family with a single income of £20,000 will be £600 worse off by 2015 than they were in 2010. Real household incomes have been falling for the past three years – meanwhile economic growth is down and borrowing is up.

Here in Tower Hamlets, we have tried to fend off the worst effects of Tory austerity. I didn’t go into politics to take from the poor and disadvantaged, and my recent budget was designed to safeguard frontline services and protect people from the worst effects of the government cuts.

In this we have a better record than many Labour run authorities. But as Ed Miliband and Labour nationally do their best to confront this Government, locally we have witnessed the unedifying example of the Tower Hamlets Labour Group working hand in glove with local Tories in an unholy coalition, and in their failed attempt to block my progressive budget.

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