Commenting on the Chancellors Autumn Statement, Leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland, Mal O’Hara said;
“Once again we see a Tory Chancellor committing to business as usual. The third Tory Chancellor of the year has brought forward a budget that is a better dressing of the same old same old. It is further austerity despite the warnings of economists that public spending cuts will only deepen our recession. This is not a budget to create a greener, fairer and more stable UK.
The economic nightmare we face is one of the Tory party’s making. For most people, wages are stagnating, mortgages are spiralling and high inflation means that household budget’s just can’t stretch as far. As we face one of the most difficult winters in a generation, the Chancellor has missed the opportunity to protect the most vulnerable during this cost of greed crises. His indication of further pending cuts puts pressure on public services just as people need them the most. Forcing 600,000 people in receipt of universal credit to meet job coaches and putting more money into targeting benefit fraud while not investing in corporate tax avoidance and evasion shows this Government’s priorities. The Barnett consequential for Northern Ireland of £650 Million is very welcome but with no local government to allocate it, the DUP blockade of the Assembly means that it can’t be used to support public services and the most vulnerable.”
Councillor O’Hara continued “As global attention is on COP27 this Chancellor seems to pay scant regard to the issue of our time. The Chancellor has reaffirmed commitment to net-zero by 2050 and promised a focus on energy efficiency but there is little detail on commitments in this parliamentary term. The increase in windfall tax is welcome but keeping the investment allowance is a subsidy to big oil and gas that should be scrapped. A new tax on electricity generation which are often renewables is a marker of his intention to protect big oil and gas. This is a budget for continued inequality, climate crises and instability.”