Budget hits South East poorest hardest, but benefits business. Nothing for the environment.
With 22% of children in the South East living in poverty the Chancellor’s 2015 budget’s £12 bn of welfare cuts will hit them hard. His plans to cut working age benefits and limit tax credit and universal credit to the first two children will have a far reaching impact on poorer families.
The South East may be more affluent than other areas of the UK but it has pockets of deprivation. In Mole Valley, Surrey, the recently opened food bank has experienced high levels of demand from an area where one in three children live in poverty. That includes the 73% of families claiming tax credits who are in work.
Maintenance grants, which particularly help poorer students, will be abolished with the cap on tuition fees raised.
The environment didn’t get much of a look in either. The Chancellor was disappointed at the low level of spending on motorways compared with Germany, and promised a road building programme rather than investment in public transport.
He abolished the exemption for renewables companies to pay the climate change levy. But cut corporation tax to one of the lowest levels in the developed world (below India, Brazil and Mexico).
While cutting inheritance tax for people passing on £1million homes to their children, he also promised planning reforms. The Green Belt better look out when they’re announced later this week.
Brighton Pavilion MP, Caroline Lucas, said: “This cruel and counterproductive budget is dire news for people in Britain and a serious blow to the Government’s already stained record on climate change. The welfare cuts announced today will plunge thousands of people in poverty, and cause families to be evicted from their homes. I’m deeply concerned that my own constituents are set to face needless hardship as this Government continues its economically illiterate and utterly unjust mission to hack away at our welfare state and public services”.