Video of the full speech here: https://www.facebook.com/StephaniePeacockMP/videos/440659680788599/
As the cost of living rises we needed a Budget with the right priorities and the Government has failed to deliver this. As with the miners’ pension scheme, the Chancellor has once again turned his back on communities like ours.
In my speech in Parliament on the 1st of November, I called the Government out on their warped priorities:
“Living standards are below where they were before the global financial crisis, spending on education is back to 2010 levels when Labour left office, and today a quarter of children in Barnsley are growing up in poverty.
As we head into a difficult winter, with energy bills rising and inflation soaring, this Government have refused to take important steps to support working families, such as removing VAT from home energy bills.
Instead, the measures in this Budget leave the vast majority of my constituents worse off, with taxes up, inflation up and universal credit cut.
Yet this Government have found money to cut taxes for bankers, champagne and domestic flights. Those might be the Government’s priorities but they are not the priorities of people in Barnsley.
We have had some of the worst cuts in the country. Barnsley Council alone has lost £150 million from its annual budget. Our local services have been devastated by austerity.
The Government’s money for so-called levelling up will go nowhere near to compensating for these devastating cuts.
No levelling up money will be invested in Barnsley despite two applications, both rejected. This Government cannot claim to be serious about levelling up for as long as they continue to ignore areas like mine.
Most of all, the Government cannot claim to be serious about levelling up while they continue to betray the “categorical” promise that the Prime Minister made to my constituents.
During the general election, the Prime Minister pledged to end the theft of miners’ pensions, saying that “we will make sure that all their cash is fully protected and returned, I have looked into it and we will ensure that’s done.”
The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, which has a Conservative majority, backed our campaign to end the miners’ pension rip-off.
The Government should now implement the Committee’s recommendations, and the Budget was an opportunity to do just that. The average miner receives a pension of just £84 a week, with many on a lot less.
Ending the theft of their pensions would not only be the morally right thing to do, but it would provide an immediate boost to miners’ pockets to deal with spiralling living costs and to spend in coalfield economies, but the Government are refusing to act, just as they have refused to act in this Budget.
As the cost of living spirals, all our communities needed a Budget with the right priorities, but, much like with the miners’ pension scheme, when our communities most needed a helping hand, they have instead found the Chancellor’s hand in their pocket.”