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Thursday, November 23, 2017

Budget forecasts put the UK in intensive care

The most striking part of yesterday's budget speech was not the abolition of stamp duty for properties selling at less that £300,000 as some Tories hoped, but the news that growth forecasts for the next five years are on the critical list.

As Vince Cable pointed out in his response, each person in Britain is set to be £687 worse off per year compared to forecasts before the election. And as living standards are squeezed the Government is setting aside £3.7 billion to cover the cost of a 'no deal' Brexit.

In other words the Chancellor found more money in the Budget to plan for Brexit than he did for the struggling NHS, schools and police. Vince writes:

'A Liberal Democrat budget would have looked very different today. Founded on a vision of a high-tech, high-skilled economy that is green, open and entrepreneurial.

We would invest £6bn per year in our NHS & Social Care system, paid for by a penny on income tax. And Lib Dems would kick-start the economy back to growth with productive investment of £100bn over ten years to build more homes and infrastructure for the next generation.

Today’s Budget reinforces our belief that Britain is better off in Europe. We are fighting to remain in the Single Market and the Customs Union, and to give the people a vote on the final Brexit deal.'

The Liberal Democrats have highlighted seven areas where the budget failed to address some of the most urgent problems facing the UK. These include not tackling the funding crisis in the NHS, not funding a pay rise for public sector workers, failing to adequately address the housing crisis, not putting money into social care, thus increasing pressure on the health service, and waiting until January to address problems with universal credit.

The Government's obsession with Brexit is destroying our economy, undermining living standards and diverting money away from key services. And Labour's complicity in supporting that agenda means that only the Liberal Democrats are providing an effective opposition to this looming disaster.
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