The Budget: Backbench Reaction

'It's pretty clear that there is an election on the way'
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Indy Politics

There may have been no "rabbit from the hat" some Labour backbenchers had hoped for, but most on Mr Brown's side of the House appeared convinced it was a springboard to a 3 May election.

There may have been no "rabbit from the hat" some Labour backbenchers had hoped for, but most on Mr Brown's side of the House appeared convinced it was a springboard to a 3 May election.

Cash for education and health as well as populist measures on families and motoring taxes would go down well on the doorsteps, they agreed. "It's a very realistic Budget," said Gwyneth Dunwoody, MP for Crewe and Nantwich. "I'm sure it will be appreciated by those with families and those who most need assistance.

"It will certainly clear the way to a spring election, but many of the benefits are long-term, so there will be no problem if we run into the autumn with the election."

The Maverick MP Andrew Mackinlay (Thurrock) said: "This is what many of use have been hungry for, for some time: more money on our traditional working-class support. It will be welcomed by the sort of people I meet in Dock Road, Tilbury. As a socialist, the very substantial extra money for schools is very welcome."

Jack Cunningham, the former cabinet minister and Copeland MP, said: "It's a hugely powerful performance, in content and its exposure of the massive underlying strength of the economy. The debt reduction and release of resources will be beneficial through the country, warmly welcomed beyond the Parliamentary Labour Party."

Jeremy Corbyn, left-wing MP for Islington North, said: "The clear emphasis on improved childcare support and with the working families tax credit are, to me, the most beneficial parts of it. But it's not clear how much, if any, new investment there is on housing for affordable rent, which is a huge issue in areas like mine."

Frank Dobson, the former secretary for health and MP for Holborn and St Pancras, said: "It was excellent stuff which was very welcome and will be welcomed loudly. Tax changes that help families with children, the extra help for pensioners and the drive to get more people back to work will go down well on the doorsteps. These are the things that will appeal to anyone with any sense."

The former minister Tom Clarke, MP for Coatbridge and Chryston, said: "Although much of it was predicted, what Gordon Brown did on beer and whisky, as well as for motorists, will be very well received. The package will be easy to sell to constituents. It also leaves an Opposition in their most difficult position for years - even Neil Kinnock had an easier task during the Lawson boom.

"In a constituency like mine there are three priorities - jobs, helping families and real investment in health and education. By extra spending the Chancellor is producing tangible benefits which people can see in the constituency."

Another former cabinet minister, David Clark, MP for South Shields, said: "It was a very skilful Budget which will go down amazing well in the constituency. There was something for everyone and it's what the country wants."

Left-winger Lynne Jones, the MP for Birmingham Selly Oak, said: "I'm pleased there is now a clear distinction between Labour and the Tories in terms of investment on public services. I congratulate the Government on that."

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