Guest column: Budget failed to help those most in need

Sir Kevin Barron MP
Sir Kevin Barron MP

This week’s budget was yet another missed opportunity by a failing Government.

The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, has completely failed to recognise the scale of the emergency in our public services.

The Budget found no meaningful funding for our schools who are still facing their first real terms funding cuts since the mid-90s and nothing even approaching the scale needed to address the crisis in our NHS, local government or social care sector.

Economic growth is the lowest it has been since the Tories came into office and the Budget confirmed that failure, with growth and wage forecasts revised down in every year of the forecast.

If the Tory Government cannot address the scale of the challenges facing our economy they should stand aside for a Labour Government that will.

For all the fanfare on housing, the Budget saw more tinkering in place of decisive action, with only one third of funding announced being genuinely new.

The Chancellor announced no measures to directly increase house-building and, without that, lifting stamp duty for some will only drive up prices and benefit sellers, as the Office of Budget Responsibility have acknowledged.

The Government’s rollout of Universal Credit is causing real suffering in our communities.

Rather than the halt the botched rollout and fix the failing system, the Chancellor has put back £1 for every £10 cut from the system.

All the Chancellor could offer those struggling was further debt.

This week I also attended the launch of a new report which finds that commercial radio news provides a vital and valued service to listeners, reinforcing radio’s position as the most reliable and trusted medium in an era of proliferating fake news.

The report from Radiocentre, the industry body for commercial radio found that radio is the most trusted medium, with 77 per cent of listeners saying they trust radio for national news.

The report showcases extraordinary examples of news teams from around the country responding to major events, providing audiences with up-to- the-minute news and information.

Commercial radio stations such as Rother FM provide an invaluable public service to listeners.

It is important therefore that listeners can continue to access and enjoy commercial radio and the significant public value it delivers.

Commercial radio continues to play a crucial role in providing news and information for millions of people.