Commenting on the Autumn Statement Steve McCabe MP said “George Osborne ignores cost of living crisis and concentrates on tax cuts for millionaires.”

Steve McCabe, MP for Birmingham Selly Oak, has branded the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement as weak and ineffective compared to the scale of the crisis hitting families across the West Midlands.

George Osborne MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, whose agonies over his failed policies have resulted in the Autumn Statement being delayed until just before Christmas has finally cobbled together a package of measures to placate restless Tory backbenchers who fear that Labour is now setting the political agenda.

Labour has welcomed his proposals to scrap employer national insurance contributions for workers aged 20 and under to help tackle the huge youth employment problem across the country but point out he could have done this three years ago rather than allowing youth unemployment to escalate to its current catastrophic levels.

George Osborne told MP’s that people will be forced to work longer before receiving their state pension. The state pension age was set to rise in stages from 65 to 68 by 2046 but this date has been brought forward to the mid-2030s. The pension age could rise again in the late 2040s, this could mean that people now in their 20s could be forced to work until they are 70.

The Chancellor also announced a tax break for married couples which will mean £1,000 of personal allowance could be transferred from one spouse to another, assuming neither is a higher-rate taxpayer and one is earning less than the personal allowance. It is estimated that about 4 million couples could benefit with a tax saving of up to £200 per year. 

Facing pressure from Labour to act on rising energy bills the Government also announced this week plans to change green levies included on energy bills which should take about £50 off an average household bill. This will still mean that energy bills will rise by an average of £70 this year.

 

Commenting on the Autumn statement, Steve McCabe MP said:

“The cut in National Insurance for employers taking on a young person is welcome but the Chancellor hasn’t offered much for working people in the West Midlands who are struggling with the cost of living and are now over £1500 worse off since 2010. It’s good that after three and half years of stagnation the economy is finally on an upward swing but so far the benefits are largely confined to those living in London and the South East. There’s not much Christmas cheer here in Birmingham.

“Many people will be facing this Christmas with the gloomy prospect that they will have to work even longer until they can retire, the harsh squeeze on livings standards will make this announcement all the more bitter.

“The announcement that will see energy bills cut by £50 is a slapdash attempt to address the growing anger and concern with our broken energy market and will still mean that people struggling to make ends meet are paying more for energy than they did last year and any money they get back will come from their own taxes not energy company profits.

“The tax break for married couples and civil partnerships won’t go to two thirds of couples and is only worth about £3.85p per week. Hardly the breakthrough promised in the Prime Minister’s conference speech.

“What we need are policies like a freeze on energy bills and free childcare for up to 25 hours for all three and four year olds to provide some relief for many families on tight budgets. That’s what Labour offers while George Osborne ignores these issues and concentrates on tax cuts for millionaires.”

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