Local MPs have given a mixed reaction to Chancellor’s George Osborne’s pre-election budget this week.
Unsurprisingly, the Conservative MP for Winchester and Chandler’s Ford Steve Brine said he was ‘pleased’ by the positive news on the economy in the Chancellor’s statement and he highlighted the raising of the income tax threshold as “it will make a huge difference to people in work”; the new ‘help to buy’ scheme “the government is standing behind young people to help get them on the housing ladder” and thirdly he was pleased by a reform to police widow pensions which allowed them to retain their entitlement after a remarriage – a cause Brine had championed.
It was equally predictable that opposition Labour MP John Denham was less than pleased.
Denham who is retiring from his Southampton Itchen seat said the government had failed to protect the NHS and tackle the government deficit as they had pledged.
He said that average living standards in the South East had fallen by more than the rest of England.
“He (George Osborne) has a run a government for the people at the very top of society in the interests of others at the very top of our society”
“It’s about time we had a government who put ordinary working families at the very centre of what it’s trying to do”.
Mike Thornton, the Liberal Democrat MP for Eastleigh, said he was pleased more money had been found to invest in mental health services and by pension reforms but said he was worried by the effects of further spending cuts over the next five years arguing that we should rely more on tax rises.
Thornton said that running a deficit was a normal part of the economic cycle and trying to eliminate it simply by cutting benefits “Is just not right”.
The government should not be afraid to borrow money, he said, if it was going to be spent on infrastructure and “ended up making money for the country”.
In a statement local Southampton Green Party called the budget:
“a budget for the powerful – not the people”.
Ron Meldrum, The Green Party candidate for Eastleigh said:
“This is a last desperate gasp of those in power to try and flog a dead horse. This budget simply does not address the inequality that exists in what is supposed to be a democracy. It doesn’t work for us, it works for them, and that is not OK.”
Patricia Culligan the Ukip candidate for Eastleigh told Eastleigh News she was also worried about potential effects of future spending cuts:
“It’s worrying that he hasn’t outlined where the next raft of public spending cuts will come in the next parliament.
I know how badly the budgets of Social Services have been squeezed and that has a major impact on Child Protection.Given the extent of the Child Sex Abuse coverups, no area can afford to shrink their duty to
Guard our most vulnerable.”
But it wasn’t all bad news for Culligan who added she was pleased to see “Google tax dodging tackled” and a tax break for local newspapers.
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