The pandemic has shown how a decade of austerity eroded the foundations of our economy and our society. Budget 2021 was a missed opportunity to launch a green, equitable recovery to put people on a secure footing and address a decade of debilitating inequality.
Rather than addressing the structural weaknesses that allowed Covid-19 to run rampant through the UK, from overcrowded housing to chronically low sick pay, the Government chose to return to doing some of the same things that left us in such a weak position to start with. In my speech, I pointed out that the Government’s failure to recognise that the best economic solution was a public health solution has exacerbated the difficulties we are now facing.
From a £25 billion tax giveaway to businesses like Amazon to another real-terms pay cuts for NHS workers and other public sector staff, it’s clear we are dealing with a Government whose first priority is helping the rich get richer. On the other hand, policy after policy will adversely impact the most disadvantaged in our society.
The word inequality appeared just once in this year’s budget. Equality is written into our laws but the Government is treating it as little more than an optional add-on, as is shown by the decision not to publish an equality impact assessment alongside the Budget Resolutions – yet again.
Find out more about how I stood up for a more progressive Budget this year.