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Budget fails to address the big issues - Farron

March 8, 2017 3:23 PM

The Chancellor's budget today has failed to address the big issues facing health and education while landing local people with a hefty tax increase, according to South Lakes MP Tim Farron.

Tim said: "This budget has failed to address the funding crisis facing our NHS care, social care and education, while landing local people with a higher tax bill.

"One in four people in South Lakeland are self-employed - these are the tradespeople and entrepreneurs that our local economy is built upon. While the government cuts corporation tax for big businesses, these people will be hit with a tax increase. This is a tax on hard work and entrepreneurship for those who already face job uncertainty. Many local businesses will also face steep rises in business rates. Even the small businesses the Chancellor promised to look after could face a £600 tax hike.

"Meanwhile the government's plans for health and social care fall badly short. Social Care funding faces a £2billion black hole this year, so the Lib Dems had proposed a £2billion cash injection to fill that gap. Instead, the Conservatives will spread this sum over three years, leaving the system woefully underfunded. This announcement gives sticking plasters a bad name. This will mean elderly people struggling to access the care they need and more pressure on our hospitals. There was also concerning news for our NHS, as the Chancellor confirmed his intention to push ahead with brutal 'Sustainability and Transformation' plans which will see £572million cut from local health services by 2021.

"The government has also failed to listen to the pleas of teachers and Headteachers who have warned about the effects of a £3billion cut to school budgets. In Cumbria, this could mean 625 teachers cut by 2020. Yet while the government finds money for its ideologically-driven pet projects of promoting grammar schools and starting new free schools, calls to reverse education cuts fall on deaf ears. I will be taking this up with the Schools Minister at a meeting next week.

"However, it was pleasing to see that the government has decided to continue the Lib Dem policy of raising the income tax threshold and supporting apprenticeships."