Budget 2015 - Ed Miliband: 'People will not believe' George Osborne

Labour leader condemns Chancellor for faiulre to mention NHS or public services investment

Wednesday 18 March 2015 15:12
Miliband and Balls didn't quite get the joke
Miliband and Balls didn't quite get the joke

This is a Budget people will not believe from a Government that is not on their side, Ed Miliband said today.

The Labour leader said there had never been such a large gap between the Chancellor's rhetoric and the reality of people's lives.

He condemned George Osborne for failing to mention investment in the NHS or public services.

Mr Miliband opened the 2015 Budget debates to jeers from the Tories and was swiftly interrupted by Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle who sought to calm the House.

The Labour Leader, who has to reply to the Budget having heard the details for the first time in the Chancellor's speech, told the Commons: "Never has the gap between the Chancellor's rhetoric and the reality of people's lives been greater than it was today.

"This is a Budget people won't believe from a Government that is not on their side - because of their record, because of their instinct, because of their plans for the future."

The Leader of the Opposition continued: "And because of a Budget, most extraordinarily, that had no mention of investment in our National Health Service and our vital public services.

"It is a Budget people won't believe from a Government they don't trust.

"And this Chancellor has failed the working families of Britain. For the first time since the 1920s, people are earning less at the end of a government than they were at the beginning."

Mr Miliband set out the "inconvenient truth" of the Chancellor's record, claiming he had failed Britain's families by presiding over falling wages, not building enough homes and creating too many low-paid, insecure jobs.

He said: "People are £1,600 a year worse off, the next generation has seen wages plummet and tuition fees treble.

"You have built fewer homes than at any time for nearly 100 years.

"And it's certainly not a truly national recovery when there are more zero hours contracts than the population of Glasgow, Leeds and Cardiff combined.

"That is the reality of the lives of working people.

"These are the facts, these are the inconvenient truths of his record - it's a recovery for the few from a Government of the few."

The Labour leader added: "You chose to make a number of references to me today.

"Let me just tell you, we're not going to take lessons on fairness from the trust fund Chancellor and the Bullingdon club Prime Minister.

"And not for the first time, this is a Budget from this Chancellor that simply won't be believed.

"We support the changes on the personal allowance but on tax you give with one hand and you take far more away with the other."

Mr Miliband predicted a rise in VAT if the Conservatives are in power after the election.

He said: "What's the lesson? Deny it before an election and then hike up VAT afterwards."

The Labour leader also accused the Chancellor of creating a new measure of living standards because the Office for National Statistics model shows people are worse off under him.

He said: "People don't need a new measure which pretends they are better off, they need a new government to make them better off. That is the reality behind the Budget that can't be believed.

"You pose as a friend of the low paid ... you could not make it up."

He also criticised the Chancellor for "breaking the promise" of a £7 minimum wage by this year and mocked him for claiming to be a "friend of the North".

Mr Miliband said: "Isn't it great, the Liberal Democrats locked in the boot of the Conservative Party."

He turned his attention to the North of England, adding: "Let's really test him out on whether he is a friend of the North - 75% bigger cuts to local government budgets in the North than the rest of the country."

He said 400,000 working families in the North West had seen their tax credits cut, adding: "That's more than any other region."

In the North East, he added, the Chancellor was spending £1 on transport for every £25 spent in London.

He said: "This Government is no friend of the North."

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