This week’s budget was an opportunity for the Government to address the huge problems seven years of austerity have forced on people here in Barnsley.
Living standards have been dragged down, average earnings have stagnated, productivity growth has been trashed, and our public services have been plunged into crisis.
It was vital that the Government provided solutions to these damaging issues.
Instead, they offered no more than a ‘nothing has changed’ budget that falls woefully short of helping hard-working people in Barnsley.
Our NHS was offered £2.8bn extra money, falling way short of the $4bn minimum the NHS itself says it desperate needs to keep providing effective help and support.
Our police budgets, despite witnessing huge cuts that have seen our local force alone lose nearly a quarter of their officers since 2010, didn’t even warrant a mention in the face of rising crime numbers and unprecedented pressures.
Nor did the Chancellor see fit to bother properly addressing the public sector pay cap, which has caused real-terms pay cuts for hard-working nurses, police officers, firefighters and many other public sector workers across Barnsley.
The Government did set out their priorities, however, by deciding to press ahead with their disastrous roll-out of Universal Credit with only minor changes, leaving financial uncertainty and desperate anxiety for so many struggling people over the festive period.
Faced with the problems affecting so many, the Government once again showed just how out of touch they are with hard-working people.
Their budget showed us a lot about what the Tories care about, and it’s not good news for people in Barnsley.