Brown’s final budget will hit poor hardest

Jo Swinson has called Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown’s budget announcement “a missed opportunity to build a fairer Britain.”

Commenting on today’s budget statement, Jo said:

“Gordon Brown has doubled the starting rate of income tax, in a move that will hit low earners hardest. The cut in the basic income tax rate will benefit some, but people in East Dunbartonshire earning less than around £15,000 will pay more in income tax. The Chancellor has abandoned the need to help the lowest paid in society.

“The gap between rich and poor in Britain is higher today than it was under Margaret Thatcher. The poorest 20% of households still pay a greater proportion of tax than the top 20%. Today’s budget was a missed opportunity to build a fairer Britain.

On the environmental measures in the budget, Jo commented:

“On the environment, Gordon Brown’s final budget fell far short of what was expected. Real action is needed on climate change, which means using green taxes to change polluting behaviour. The proceeds of green taxes should be used to give a real tax cut to low and middle income families.

On the issue of Government waste, Jo said:

“There is huge waste at the heart of the Government’s spending plans, thanks to unpopular and unnecessary Government projects. The war in Iraq has cost £5 billion so far. Estimates on the cost of ID cards vary from £6 billion to £18 billion. A new generation of nuclear power stations is planned, despite £74 billion already being committed to the cost of decommissioning our existing nuclear power stations.”

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