Stephen Morgan, MP for Portsmouth South, has reacted to the Chancellor’s 2017 Budget today. This budget, one of the most important in a generation, was an opportunity to improve people’s lives, yet the Tories have let our great city and country down.

This was a ‘nothing has changed’ budget from an out-of-touch Government with no idea of the reality of people’s lives and no plan to improve them.

Stephen had four tests for the Chancellor’s statement in the House of Commons this afternoon:

Funding to protect Portsmouth’s public services

Sadly, the Chancellor failed to mention any plans to fund care for our loved ones or tackle the crisis in social care services. There was nothing on the cuts to school funding and the need for a better deal for our city’s schools. No wonder he’s ignored my letters and constituents’ lobbying. The Chancellor gave no mention of policing, the need to invest in our force or increase bobbies on Hampshire’s streets at a time when crime is rising.

Funding public sector pay rises

Those who work day in, day out, to care for us, teach us, keep our communities clean and tidy, protect us, and defend our nation, have had their pay capped for 7 years, meaning real wages are down by thousands of pounds. Paramedics are £3,800 a year worse off, firefighters are down £2,900 and teachers £2,500. Whilst I’ve stood side-by-side with public servants, the Tories’ budget today let them down once again.

Building more homes

I have a post bag full of letters from people writing to me about housing issues. From homelessness in Portsmouth, to overcrowding, to young people desperate to get on the housing ladder, we are in desperate need of urgent action to fix the housing market. House building is at the lowest level in 30 years and homelessness on our streets has doubled. We face a housing crisis in our country yet next to no new money was announced today to address the Tories’ abysmal record on our broken housing market.

Investing in our local economy and much-needed infrastructure such as road and rail

Only this week I met with business representatives to discuss the need for better connectivity between our cities and towns on the south coast to make it easier to get round and help businesses to flourish. Sadly, the Chancellor has let the people of Portsmouth and its small businesses down. Vital infrastructure projects to boost economic growth and productivity are being starved of funding and our part of the country simply isn’t getting its fair share.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“On all these tests the Tories have failed the people of Portsmouth. And worryingly, the Tories haven’t just failed my tests for the economy, they’ve failed their own. GDP forecasts are plummeting by the day, the deficit is up, and inflation is riding above pay. This Government’s economic record is one of failure and ordinary working people are paying the price”.

“Today we’ve seen the cost of a Tory Government out of touch and out of ideas. For the first time in modern history, GDP growth is expected to be under 2% in every forecast year. Wages are lower, our schools and NHS in crisis, and fewer bobbies are on the beat.

Tory austerity has failed. Yet, this Government’s answer is to carry on as usual.

The Chancellor’s vision of Britain bears no resemblance to that experienced by Portsmouth people. I know people are deeply concerned about their schools, hospitals, housing, policing and defence cuts. But there was no new money for the 5,000 head teachers who wrote to him, not one mention of police officers, and only empty gestures to our cash-strapped health service.

All this Government has offered is clever accounting and business as usual, and it’s costing our economy and communities dearly.”

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