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Budget Chases Cheap Headlines But Lacks Substance - Farron

March 16, 2016 10:45 AM

Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron has labelled George Osborne's latest budget a "scam", accusing the chancellor of chasing cheap headlines whilst failing to provide detail or substance.

The chancellor used the budget to announce £700m of spending for flood defence schemes, following the flooding this winter. However, it is believed that the government will not fully fund the Kendal flood defence scheme.

Tim has also criticised a lack of detail and substance in a range of other plans, from infrastructure spending through to education.

Tim said: "This is a disappointing budget. Although there are some encouraging headlines, the reality is that the Chancellor's announcements are either re-announcements of past commitments, or are so lacking substance that they could mean anything.

"The government had the opportunity today to commit to fully funding the Kendal flood defence scheme, but it appears to have chosen not to. We appear to still be where we were before, with the government failing to provide all the resources to implement the plan.

"The government could have committed to providing councils with all of the funds needed to repair local roads and bridges, yet instead they make a vague announcement about repairing transport infrastructure which might well leave many areas of Cumbria with little more than the spare change left over from headline schemes elsewhere.

"Infrastructure in the UK, particularly here in the north, is in desperate need of investment, but instead of simply announcing headline-grabbing plans for future schemes, Osborne should ensure that existing plans - such as the Lakes Line electrification - are actually funded and completed.

"When it comes to education, the Chancellor has chosen to go for a headline about longer school hours, when in reality many schools are already providing a wide range of extracurricular activities beyond the normal school day. The real threat to schools is the teacher recruitment and retention crisis - if Osborne wanted to address this, he should have given public sector workers the pay rise they have long deserved.

"This budget was an opportunity for real investment, the Chancellor has chosen only headlines."