Charities have hit out at George Osborne’s latest Budget, accusing the Chancellor of lavishing money on big business while ignoring poor children, domestic violence victims, and disabled people.
Wednesday’s spending statement saw Mr Osborne unveil further cuts to corporation tax, business rates, and a tax cut for higher earners – but provide little in the way of relief for the most vulnerable.
Though Mr Osborne claimed he had “put the next generation first”, Alison Garnham, chief executive of the Child Poverty Action Group, said children had lost out at the expense of business groups.
“This Budget puts the next generation last and set to be the poorest generation for decades,” she said.
“The Chancellor ignored both the 3.7m children in poverty now and the fact that according to IFS projections we face the biggest increase in child poverty in a generation.
“The Chancellor delivered some big investments for the better off but there was little here for hard-up parents trying to get better off by earning more. Children were prioritised behind business groups who got costly tax cuts.”
National deaf-blind charity Sense said the Budget was a “bleak day for disabled people” and accused the Chancellor or ignoring them, while United Response, which provides disability support services, argued the Budget “does nothing but compound the uncertainty already facing people with disabilities”.
Michelle Mitchell, chief executive of the MS Society, said the confirmation of a further benefit cut to Personal Independence Payment disability benefit would cause sufferers of multiple sclerosis “anxiety and fears”.
The Chancellor’s Budget included a further cut in corporation tax to 17 per cent, an extension of small business tax breaks on business rates, and cuts to capital gains tax.
Mr Osborne also increased the level at which the higher 40p rate of income tax kicked in – effectively a tax cut for the highest 15 per cent of earners – and announced £3.5 billion of further cuts in public spending by 2020.
The Government in the last month enacted cuts to Employment and Support Allowance and tax credits. It is also pushing ahead with cuts to the Personal Independent Payment.
The one area hailed as positive charities was new funding to house rough sleepers. Crisis and the YMCA welcomed this development.
Vivienne Hayes, chef executive of the Women’s Resource Centre, said she was “encouraged” that women charities had received investment from the tampon tax fund, but warned they were still “chronically underfunded” and that women were being impoverished by wider economic policy decisions.
In his statement to Parliament, the Chancellor said: “In this Budget we choose the long term; we choose to put the next generation first. Sound public finances to deliver security, lower taxes on business and enterprise to create jobs. Reform to improve schools, investment to build homes and infrastructure – because we know that’s the only way to deliver real opportunity and social mobility.
“And we know that the best way we can help working people is to help them to save and let them keep more of the money they earn. That is the path we followed over the past five years. And it’s given us one of the strongest economies in the world. And that is the path we will follow in the years ahead.”
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