Osborne’s Budget nothing but smoke and mirrors

The Green Party in Northern Ireland has criticised George Osbourne’s budget saying the Chancellor has employed smoke and mirrors in a ploy to appeal to voters.

Green Party NI MLA Steven Agnew said: “This is a budget by rich people for rich people.
“The Chancellor has used populist policies, such as cutting bingo tax and a penny off a pint, to mask what is really going on in the economy.

“The Tories are desperate to sell their message of an improving economy in a pathetic attempt to justify their crippling ‘austerity’ cuts.

“But the real question is who is the economy improving for?

“Official GDP figures show the fastest growth since 2007 but average earnings have fallen again and again since 2010 creating a long-drawn out decline in the average person’s living standards.

“So while people in real terms are getting poorer, consumer spending has been rising and this is what is driving the apparent economic growth.

“But that spending is actually coming from borrowed money meaning economic growth is being sustained by borrowing and there is nothing resilient in that.

“These are the exact conditions which lead to the initial financial crash so clearly lessons have not been learned and Osborne’s so-called recovery is built on shifting sand.

“The details of this budget suggest it was designed simply to appeal to disgruntled Tory voters and not with any real vision for the common good.

“If he really wanted to help those struggling he would have instigated a mandatory living wage and placed the higher burden of tax on those who can actual afford it.

“Last month Osborne himself warned that the UK’s economic recovery was “not yet secure” and the Chair of the Bank of England described it as “neither balanced or sustainable”.

“This so-called recovery should be treated with the skeptism its deserves.

“At this time we should be re-aligning our economy to make it more sustainable rather than creating a platform for Tory PR ahead of the general election next year.

“It’s time government took control of our economy for the common good and put our long term economic stability and prosperity ahead of short term consumerism.”

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