In a response to the Chancellor’s Statement, the Leader of the Labour Group, Councillor Jim Grant, said:
“The Chancellor’s Statement shows a record of failures, cuts and u-turns.
“He is failing to meet his targets on the deficit and the debt which he justified for his austerity programme, with Government borrowing showing that they are almost certain to miss their borrowing target for this financial year, with October’s borrowing 16% higher than a year earlier.
“Public Services are under intense pressure from government budget cuts. There are Swindon schools forecast to set deficit budgets in the near future if they do not cut back on teaching staff. Ten Mental Health Trusts have written to the Chancellor warning of the disastrous impact that a lack of government funding will have on mental health sufferers. And the Chancellor has left the social care sector in utter crisis. In the past year 3,000 care home beds have been lost at a time when an ageing population means rising demand, placing extra pressure on an NHS which is more expensive.
“We are pleased that after a sustained campaign by the Labour Party the Chancellor has made a huge U-Turn on his decision to cut tax credits. This will come as a big relief to the thousands of working families in Swindon that he has put under much undue stress in recent months.
“A Labour Government would balance the current budget in a fair way, while giving the government the flexibility to invest in order to deliver world-class infrastructure, support the UK’s science base and build a truly strategic state that works in partnership with businesses, entrepreneurs and workers to support innovation, create wealth and drive growth.”