Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Opposition, said in the House of Commons in response to the Budget statement:
Mr Deputy Speaker.
This is the Chancellor’s fourth Budget, but one thing unites them all.
Every Budget he comes to this house and things are worse not better for the country.
Compared to last year’s Budget
Growth last year, down.
Growth this year, down.
Growth next year, down.
They don’t think growth matters, but people in this country do.
And all he offers is more of the same.
A more of the same Budget from a downgraded Chancellor.
Britain deserves better than this.
I do have to say to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, he almost need not have bother coming to the House because the whole Budget, including the market-sensitive fiscal forecast was in the Standard before he rose to his feet.
To be fair to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, I sure he didn’t intend the whole of the Budget to be in the Standard before he rose to his feet and I hope he will investigate and report back to the House.
Now, what did the Prime Minister declare late last year, and I quote:
“The good news will keep coming”.
And what did the Chancellor tell us today?
Under this Government the bad news just doesn’t stop.
Back in June 2010 the Chancellor promised:
“a steady and sustained recovery...”
He was wrong.
We’ve had the slowest recovery for 100 years.
Last year he said in the Budget there would be no double dip recession.
He was wrong, there was.
He told us a year ago that growth would be 2% this year.
He was wrong.
Now he says it will be just 0.6%.
He told us that next year, growth would be 2.7%.
Now just 1.8%.
Wait for tomorrow the Chancellor says, and I will be vindicated.
But with this Chancellor tomorrow never comes.
He’s the wrong man.
In the wrong place.
At the worst possible time for the country.
It’s a downgraded budget from a downgraded Chancellor.
He has secured one upgrade this year.
Travelling first class on a second class ticket from Crewe to London.
And the only time the country’s felt all in it together, was when he got booed by 80,000 people at the Paralympics.
Mr Deputy Speaker, I’ve got some advice for the Chancellor.
Stay away from the cup final, even if Chelsea get there.
And, who is paying the price for the Chancellor’s failure?
In his first Budget he predicted that living standards would rise over the Parliament.
But wages are flat.
Prices are rising.
And Britain’s families are squeezed.
And what the Chancellor didn’t tell us, is that the Office for Budget Responsibility has confirmed the British people will be worse off in 2015 than they were in 2010.
It’s official: you’re worse off under the Tories.
Worse off, year after year after year. And wasn’t there an extraordinary omission from his speech, no mention of the AAA rating.
What the Prime Minister called the “mark of trust”.
Which he told us had been “secured”.
The Chancellor said it would be a humiliation for Britain to be downgraded.
So not just a downgraded Chancellor.
A humiliated Chancellor too.
And what about borrowing?
The Chancellor made the extraordinary claim in his speech that he was “on course”.
Mr Deputy Speaker, even he can’t believe this nonsense.
Debt is higher in every year of this Parliament than he forecast at the last Budget.
He is going to borrow £200 billion more than he planned.
And what did he say in his June 2010 Budget:
He set two very clear benchmarks, and I quote, “We are on track to have debt falling and a balanced structural current budget” by 2014/15.
Or as he called it “our four-year plan”.
This was the deal he offered the British people.
These were the terms.
Four years of pain, tax rises ….
The Prime Minister says from a sedentary position, borrow more, you are borrowing more.
And he just needs to look down the road, because the Business Secretary was asked and he said: “We are borrowing more”. From his own Business Secretary.
So these were the terms: four years, tax rises, and spending cuts, and the public finances would be sorted.
So today he should have been telling us:
Just one more year of sacrifice.
In twelve months the good times will roll.
Election plan underway.
But three years on, what does he say?
Exactly what he said three years ago.
We still need four more years of pain, tax rises and spending cuts.
In other words, after all the misery, all the harsh medicine, all the suffering by the British people:
Same old Tories.
And all he offers is more of the same.
It’s as if they really do believe their own propaganda.
That the failure is nothing to do with them.
We’ve heard all the excuses:
The snow, the royal wedding, the Jubilee, the eurozone.
And now they’re turning on each other.
The Prime Minister said last weekend, and I quote:
“Let the message go out from this hall and this party: We are here to fight”.
Mr Deputy Speaker, they’re certainly doing that.
The Business Secretary’s turned on the Chancellor.
The Home Secretary’s turned on the Prime Minister.
And the Education Secretary’s turned on her.
The whole country can see that’s what’s going on.
The blame game has begun in the Cabinet.
The truth is the Chancellor is lashed to the mast, not because of his judgement, but because of pride.
Not because of the facts, but because of ideology.
And why does he stay in his job?
Not because the country want him.
Not because his party want him.
But because he is the Prime Minister’s last line of defence.
The Bullingdon boys really are both in it together.
And they don’t understand, you need a recovery made by the many not just a few at the top.
It’s a year now since the omnishambles Budget.
We’ve had u-turns on charities, on churches, on caravans.
And yes, on pasties.
But there is one policy they are absolutely committed to.
The top rate tax cut.
John the banker, remember him?
He’s had a tough year, earning just £1m.
What does he get? He gets a tax cut of £42,500 next year.
£42,500, double the average wage.
His colleague, let’s call him George, his colleague has done a little better, bringing home £5 million. What does he get in a tax cut?
I know the Prime Minister doesn’t like to hear what he agreed to, what does he get? A tax cut of nearly £250,000.
And at the same time everyone else is paying the price.
The Chancellor is giving with one hand, and taking far more away with the other.
Hard working families hit by the strivers tax.
Pensioners hit by the granny tax.
Disabled people hit by the bedroom tax.
Millions paying more so millionaires can pay less.
Now the Chancellor mentioned childcare.
He wants a round of applause for cutting £7bn in help for families this Parliament, and offering £700m of help in the next.
But what are the families who are waiting for that childcare help told? They’ve got to wait over two years for help to arrive.
But for the richest in society, they just have to wait two weeks for the millionaires tax cut to kick in.
This is David Cameron’s Britain.
And still the Prime Minister refuses to tell us – despite repeated questions - whether he is getting the 50p tax cut.
Oh he’s getting embarrassed now, you can see.
He’s had a year to think about it.
He must have done the maths.
Even he should have worked it out by now.
So come on.
Nod your head if you are getting the 50p tax rate.
They ask am I?
No I am not getting the 50p tax rate, I am asking whether the PM is.
Come on answer.
After all, he is the person that said sunlight is the best disinfectant, let transparency win the day.
Now let’s try something else. What about the rest of the Cabinet, are they getting the 50p tax rate?
OK, hands up if you are not getting the 50p tax cut?
Come on, hands up.
Just put your hand up if you are not getting the 50p tax cut. They are obviously … they don’t like it do they?
At last the Cabinet are united, with a simple message:
He’s cutting taxes for them, while raising them for everyone else.
Now the Chancellor announced some measures today that he said would boost growth.
Just like he does every year.
And every year they fail.
I could mention the “national loan guarantee scheme”, he trumpeted that last year.
And then he abolished just four months later.
The Funding for Lending scheme, that he said would transform the prospects for small business.
The work programme that is worse than doing nothing.
And today he talked a lot about housing.
And the Prime Minister said this in 2011. He launched his so-called housing strategy, and in his own understated way he labelled it “a radical and unashamedly ambitious strategy”. He said it would give the housing industry a shot in the arm, enable 100,000 people to buy their own home.
18 months later, how many families have been helped?
Not even 10,000.
Just fifteen hundred out of 100,000 promised
That’s 98,500 broken promises.
For all the launches, strategies and plans, housing completions are now at the lowest level since the 1920s.
And 130,000 jobs lost in construction because of their failing economic plan.
It’s a failing economic plan from a failing Chancellor.
The Chancellor has failed the tests of the British people:
Growth, living standards and hope.
But he has not just failed their tests. He has failed on his own as well.
All he has to offer is this more of the same Budget.
Today the Chancellor joined twitter.
He could have got it all into 140 characters.
Growth down. Borrowing up. Families hit. And millionaires laughing all the way to the bank. #downgradedChancellor.
Mr Deputy Speaker, more of the same is not the answer to the last three years.
More of the same is the answer of a downgraded Chancellor, in a downgraded Government.
Britain deserves better than this.