July budget gives with one hand and takes away with two

Last week’s austerity budget presented by the Conservative government has been criticised by many anti-austerity groups and politicians as being another attack on the poor and disadvantaged, as well as a further nail in the coffin for action on reducing carbon emissions and slowing down climate change.

Local green party members have voiced their concerns on how this will impact both the current and future generations in Medway with the following statement:

“Many commentators have pointed out that the chancellor has hidden the real impact of the austerity measures behind a smokescreen of benefits, particularly what has been wrongly called the ‘living wage’.

“While a rise in the minimum wage is welcome, the latest budget remains awful news for many residents who rely on state support to supplement their working incomes. The rise in the minimum wage is simply not enough to make up for the decrease in tax credits.  This government had already pushed families into resorting to food banks and now thirteen million families, across the UK, will lose out even further as a result of extending the freeze in working-age benefits, reduced tax credits and the local housing allowance, until 2020.

“Additionally, students from lower income families will no longer benefit from the maintenance grant as that is being scrapped, alongside a lift of the fees cap which will lead to the highest performing universities effectively pricing poorer students out.

“This budget is also a continuation of a burden that has penalised women. Measures such as the public sector pay freeze, tax credit cuts and delays on child care commitments in England will hit women hardest. Of the £34bn cuts package announced by Osborne, a full £24bn will be borne by women, who are already poorer paid and worse off than men.”

“With changes to inheritance tax that will benefit a small wealthy minority, it looks like a divide and rule budget that targets low income groups by giving with one hand and taking away with two”.

Other budget changes highlight a further move away from the pre 2010 green promises of the Conservatives, according to the Medway Green Party.

“Axing the climate change levy (CCL) exemption on renewables has been compared to an alcohol tax on apple juice. Renewables will be treated as if they are a dirty fuel, such as coal or oil, even though CCL was introduced to encourage the move to clean energy. In addition, public sector bodies, such as the NHS and local councils will need to find funding to pay the CCL on their energy bills after making great efforts to switch their supplies to green energy sources.

“This is a short sighted budget that not only puts in jeopardy the well being of millions of people living in the UK today, but represents a backward step in protecting future generations from climate change”

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