Presenting his first Budget to the House of Commons, Chancellor Philip Hammond pledged ‘to build a stronger, fairer, better Britain’.
Leaders of the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party commented on a selection of the key announcements made by Mr Hammond in the speech.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn denounced the Chancellor’s Budget as one of ‘utter complacency’, which ‘cuts the living standards for the many and raises taxes for the few’.
Mr Corbyn also lambasted the Chancellor for presenting a Budget which is ‘entirely out of touch with the reality of life for many millions of people’.
He continued: ‘Millions of workers know their next pay packet won’t be enough to make ends meet. It is a Budget built on failure and unfairness.’
The Liberal Democrats criticised the government’s decision to increase national insurance contributions for the self-employed. Susan Kramer, Shadow Chancellor for the Liberal Democrats, commented: ‘This is a tax on builders, taxi drivers and window cleaners, some of Britain’s hardest working people. This hits the gig economy where people are already insecure and facing rising prices and job uncertainty.’
Meanwhile, Caroline Lucas, co-leader of the Green Party, expressed disappointment in the Chancellor’s ‘failure’ to provide sufficient funding for the NHS and social care. She commented: ‘With our NHS in peril and social care in the midst of a crisis, this Budget was a chance for the government to take a stand for the public services upon which we all rely.
‘Instead they continue to push ahead with planned corporation tax cuts and their hand out to high earners while unveiling woefully inadequate funding changes for the NHS and social care.’