Andrew Smith MP

On your side in Oxford East

The budget we need

OXFORDSHIRE_G_2013.jpgI am writing this before the Budget. Here is my take on what needs doing.

The starting point has to be that the government's economic plan is failing. Instead of more of the same failing policies we need a bold and radical Budget this week to kickstart our economy and help millions on low and middle incomes struggling with the rising cost of living.

Our economy is flatlining, prices are rising faster than wages, the deficit is going up and even our triple-A credit rating has been lost. 

On every economic test this Government set itself, it has failed.

These are some of the things I would like to see instead, by way of action to get the economy moving, create jobs and support businesses: 

* bring forward long-term infrastructure investment in schools, roads and transport and build thousands of affordable homes, especially important in our area -- getting builders back to work, creating the homes we need now and strengthening our economy for the future;

* at least for a period, cut VAT to boost spending power in the economy; 

* give small firms a national insurance tax break if they take on extra workers;

* get people back to work to help get the benefits bill down by guaranteeing a job for every young person out of work for a year or more and every adult unemployed for over two years -- funded by a fair tax on bank bonuses and changes to pensions tax relief for the very richest; 

* and get lending going to small and medium-sized companies, who desperately want to invest and expand, by establishing a British Investment Bank. 

I would like to see much more investment in energy conservation -- to save energy, help the environment and cut people's fuel bills.

Next month's tax cut for millionaires should be cancelled. It cannot be right that millions of people are being forced to pay more for this government's economic failure - and through cuts to tax credits, child benefit, maternity pay and the bedroom tax - while millionaires get an average £100,000 tax cut.

I would also like to see help for families with the growing cost of childcare, starting with reversing the government's cuts to childcare tax credits which cost a family with two children up to £1,500 a year and extending Labour's free nursery places from 15 to 20 hours a week.

How much of the above will we see in the Budget? Not much I fear; but the country and our community would do much better if the Chancellor listened.

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