• Conor’s response to the Budget

    Conor’s initial response to today’s Budget:

    “After eight years of Tory austerity, people in St Helens are more than ever feeling the effects of the swingeing cuts to our schools, NHS, policing and local government services. Nothing announced today by the chancellor can undo the impact these cuts have had on our community and families right across the borough.

    “St Helens Council will have lost 71% of its central government funding by 2020, some £115million. That’s the equivalent of two years’ worth of the boroughs entire social care budget at a time when almost 5,000 adults in the borough are in need of long term care and almost 2,000 vulnerable children are in care or need some form of protection, and while the number of residents over the age of 90 is set to triple in the next twenty years with the amount of people with dementia set to increase by 58% in the next ten years.

    “Rather unbelievably, the Chancellor also said he was announcing a ‘funding bonus’ for schools to help buy ‘the little extras’. Does he think teachers and books are ‘little extras’? Because that’s what local schools tell me they can’t afford because of Tory cuts to their funding, which has seen £2bn in real terms cuts to schools nationally.

    “While I welcome the Government’s new-found interest in renewing our high streets, I’ll be seeking clarity from about how much of this is new money, and how much will be allocated to towns like St Helens and Newton-le-Willows. We must also ensure that any proposed business rates relief – which will be a welcome boost for our small shops and cafés – is funded by Whitehall, not the Town Hall.

    “Over the last eight years, the Tories have taken billions out of our public services and from the pockets of working people. St Helens has been disproportionately burdened with those cuts and a reduction in wages and living standards. If this Budget means even the smallest fraction of the money taken is being returned, I will be holding this Government to account and fighting to make sure that our community gets its fair share.”