I’ve beenasked many times over the last few weeks what I’m expecting from the budget. The answer is simple: not very much.
As you will know – as you’ll have seen the budget headlines by the time this is printed – I was right.
No matter how low your expectations are, this Government’s trademark is that it always delivers even less.
Its fiscal incompetence and refusal to move away from austerity – despite the overwhelming evidence that it’s not working – shows the Tories are a busted flush with no ideas, no policies and no optimistic vision for the future of our country.
Is it any wonder that a Times/YouGov poll shows that younger voters are deserting the Tories like never before? The collapse in support among 25 to 29-year-olds has been catastrophic, but the Conservatives appear to be treating the figures with contempt.
Support is down from 23 per cent in June to just 12 per cent now. Almost all of that support is switching straight to Labour – support for Jeremy Corbyn has grown by eight points among 25 to 29-year-olds alone.
Despite this haemorrhaging of support, the chancellor appears oblivious to it and is putting a sticking plaster on a gaping wound.
There’s nothing wrong with introducing an extension to the discounted rail travel scheme, but if that’s the best they can do for our young people they should pack up and go home now.
WHILE the Tories appear to be going out of their way to alienate younger voters, the opposite is the case with the Labour Party. Since Jeremy Corbyn’s election as leader of the party, young people have been joining in droves.
A perfect example of how this benefits the party is illustrated by the selection and subsequent election of Katie Trueman to Hartlepool Council. Katie will bring new ideas, new energy and optimism to the party.
I hope her election will also encourage more young people to get involved in politics. They can be assured of help, encouragement and support from Hartlepool Labour.
IF there was ever any doubt that the North-South divide has widened in the seven years of Tory austerity, the latest Government figures prove that our area has been neglected in the most ruthless way.
Spending in the North has fallen by £696million in real terms since 2012, while the south of England has seen an increase of £7billion. An absolutely shocking difference and another example of how the Tories show utter contempt for our region.
The official Government figures also show that, when inflation is taken into account, every region in the north of England has seen a fall in spending on services since 2012, while every other English region has seen an increase. While budget cuts have affected public services such as schools, police forces and local councils across England, the latest figures show that overall cuts in the north have been disproportionately greater.
In a nutshell, people in the North are getting a rough deal. Those on lower salaries and those who need public services more are getting an even tougher deal.