Barry Gardiner

Working Hard for Brent North

George Osborne's Budget fails the people of Brent

“Forcing people in very difficult circumstances into poverty seems an outrageous way for any government to behave.”

This is what one of my constituents, whose husband is receiving treatment for cancer, recently told me. She is absolutely right. 

Over 9,000 Brent residents rely on Employment Support Allowance to live independently and with dignity. But the government has cut their income by £30 a week. The cuts to Personal Independence Payments would have seen 640,000 disabled people lose up to a further £3,500 a year by 2020.

I share my constituents’ great relief watching the government’s U-turn on the proposed £4.4 billion of cuts to Personal Independence Payments.

But disabled people in my constituency have already suffered real hardship under this government, from the bedroom tax, the benefit cap, the benefits uprating policy, scrapping Disability Living Allowance, and the 12 month time limit on contributory ESA.

Last Wednesday, the Chancellor believed that in order to meet his own legal requirement to achieve a budget surplus by 2020, he had to make £4.4billion of cuts to the most vulnerable people in our society.

All because he wanted to cut corporation tax and capital gains tax, and to raise the higher Rate Income Tax threshold to benefit the very richest.

This budget fails the people of Brent, and the UK, by entrenching division in our society.

 Many of my constituents in low pay jobs and high rent housing are afraid. For thousands of them the housing ladder is being drawn up and placed further out of reach as the government’s definition of low cost housing continues to outstrip what people actually earn.

When £450,000 is accepted as the low-cost benchmark, what we are seeing is the social cleansing of London.

The Budget did nothing to help the 400 homeless families in Brent, the 4000 families on the waiting list for social housing or the 5000 children living in temporary accommodation.

If you are poor under this government you can now only work in our great city if you live outside it.

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