For Rishi Sunak's 2021 Autumn Budget, today is very much the morning after the party
before. Despite the promises and optimism, independent number crunchers have today
announced that most of us are going to be a lot worse-off in the months ahead. As the
English sparkling wine bottles are cleared (a big tax cut here), independent think-tank the
Resolution Foundation says "households will pay £3000 more tax a year" as a result of
measures introduced by Boris Johnson since he came to power. And the Institute for Fiscal
Studies, the leading authority on tax, confirms middle-income families are "likely to be worse
off next year". A major hang-over.
Of course, there has been a major pandemic. But both the Resolution Foundation and the
IFS state that Sunak could have taken a different course if he wanted to. A far bigger drag
on the economy has been the disaster of Brexit. The government's own statistics body, the
Office for Budget Responsibility, confirmed yesterday that the pandemic would permanently
remove 4% of growth in the economy compared to 2% from the pandemic.
For Ipswich and Suffolk in particular, the Budget had very little to say. The Suffolk Chamber
of Commerce was very disappointed stating "it's an underwhelming Budget for our
members". Apart from a small grant for a pub in Westhall (which MP drinks there?), Suffolk
did not get any infrastructure spending from levelling-up funds, compared to the millions
given to other parts of the Eastern region and the UK as a whole. Why? There are many
areas of Ipswich which are amongst the most deprived parts of the country and our average
wage is well below the national average. The seven Tory MPs in Suffolk have spectacularly
failed in persuading their government to bring investment into the County.
Finally, the political chicanery and cynicism of the Chancellor can be seen in his attitude to
Universal Credit. Faced with major criticism over the removal of the £20 a week uplift, he has
changed benefit taper reliefs for working claimants. Presumably, he thinks they are the
deserving poor compared to the underserving sick, the disabled and family carers who
cannot work. Possibly his focus groups confirmed the general public still considered these
people "scroungers". This was too much for Waveney MP Peter Aldous who slammed the
distinction on Radio Suffolk this morning saying "we need to give them all the support we
So there we have it. Vote Tory to lower your standing of living.
Councillor Oliver Holmes
https://ifs.org.uk/budget-2021 https://www.suffolkchamber.co.uk/media/48589/autumn-budget-2021-suffolk-chamber.pdf https://obr.uk/overview-of-the-october-2021-economic-and-fiscal-outlook/
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