While Britain is the grip of strikes by teachers,doctors, nurses and railway staff, the Chancellor chose to target improved pension provision for the rich.
The pension changes remove the cap on lifetime pension savings allowing the wealthy to add unlimited amounts to their pension funds. Only 57% of people below retirement age have a pension, and the average size of their pension pot at retirement is under £200,000. This change benefits nobody who isn’t already wealthy. A huge tax break for the rich.
At the same time the OBR (Office for Budget Responsibility) confirms that the UK will be the weakest economy in the G7 this year, the only country that will see negative growth. And further, we will have had the largest hit to our living standards over the past two years since comparable records began.
Even more disturbing is that the justification for this pension tax relief is to create jobs by bringing people back to work. Again, the OBR estimates that this measure will cost £70,000 for every person who returns to the workplace.
Meanwhile the standard state pension remains one of the worst in Europe and is half the income of someone on the minimum wage.
You can read the full budget details here: Budget 2023
This Budget was a chance for the government to unlock Britain’s promise and potential, but instead they decided to continue papering over the cracks of 13 years of economic failure. While, again, failing to tax businesses
To quote the Shadow Chancellor, Rachel Reeves:-
And who is going to pay for it?
It’s not international giants like Amazon – the Chancellor has found a tax deduction for them. It’s not property speculators – they’ve already pocketed a stamp duty cut. And it’s clearly not the banks – even though bankers’ bonuses are set to hit a record high this year.
Instead, the Chancellor is loading the burden on working people. A National Insurance Tax rise – on working people. A Council Tax hike – on working people. And no support today for working people with VAT on their gas and electricity bills.
And what are working people getting in return? A record NHS waiting list, with no plan to clear it, no way to see a GP and still having to sell their home to pay for social care.
Community policing nowhere to be seen, a court backlog leaving victims without justice and almost every rape going unprosecuted.
A growing gap in results and opportunities between children at private and state schools. Soaring number of pupils in supersize classes and no serious plan to catch up on learning stolen by the virus. £2 million announced today – a pale imitation of the £15 billion catch up fund that the Prime Minister’s own education tsar said was needed. No wonder, Madame Deputy Speaker, that he resigned.
Now the Chancellor talks about world class public services. Tell that to a pensioner waiting for a hip operation. Tell that to a young woman waiting to go to court to get justice. Tell that to a mum and dad, waiting for their child the mental health support they need.
And the Chancellor says today that he has realised what a difference early years spending makes. I would just say to the Chancellor, has he ever heard of the Sure Start programme that this Tory government has cut?
And why are we in this position? Why are British businesses being stifled by debt while Amazon gets tax deductions?
Why are working people being asked to pay more tax and put up with worse services?
Why are billions of pounds in taxpayer money being funnelled to friends and donors of the Conservative party while millions of families are having £20 a week taken off them?
You can see her full response here: Labour Budget Response