We need a Budget for jobs, housing and stability

by Joe Anderson

This is the eighth winter of Tory austerity and it must be the last.

The legacy of a decade’s worth of Tory public service cuts and rampant economic inequality is right there on our high streets for all to see.

Food banks, credit unions and pawn shops.

The poor have been abandoned in the clamour to clear up the mess left behind by the bankers and George Osborne’s ideological obsession with cuts.

His successor, Philip Hammond, didn’t even know the unemployment figures when he was asked on television on Sunday morning.

All of us dealing with the fallout of his disastrous austerity policies know only too well that we have 1.4 million people unemployed and as many again working in the ‘gig economy’ of insecure, part-time and short-term work.

Against such a backdrop, it’s no wonder that young people cannot get a foothold on the housing ladder.

Councils like mine are doing everything possible as a council to work with housing associations and developers to build homes that are so desperately needed, but we are doing so in the face of sheer indifference from ministers about the scale of the crisis.

A strong house-building policy is a strong economic policy. If they want to move beyond words, the Chancellor need to weigh-in with the funding and powers to speed everything up.

Today’s Budget should also mark the point when the Government takes seriously the impact that Brexit will have on cities like mine.

The scale of the EU divorce bill – tens of billions – means that Brexit is now denying investment to our vital public services.

Furthermore, any dip in the economic fortunes of the country will hit cities like Liverpool hardest. This is why ministers need to publish their Brexit impact assessments into the effects on different parts of the country and economy.

The best way to insulate us from any harsh effects is to invest in our infrastructure.

We need the Chancellor to prove his commitment the Northern Powerhouse idea and put the funding in place to make the cross-Pennine HS3 line a reality. The share price in Government promises about Northern Powerhouse is in freefall.

More hopefully, the Budget should at least spell the end of the disgraceful six-week waiting period for Universal Credit that new claimants face. As a council, we will seek redress from the DWP for the amounts we have already spent supporting desperate families who fell foul of this policy during its botched roll-out.

The U-turn on Universal Credit is welcome, but we also need to see similar flexibility shown to put adult social care funding on a sustainable footing, ending the approach that takes councils to the financial cliff edge every year.

This involves supporting the sector to pay decent rates for frontline care staff who are responsible for looking after our aged relatives and deserve to make a reasonable living for doing so.

Nationally, there is also a £2 billion shortfall in funding for councils protecting vulnerable children. The Chancellor needs to plug this hole unless it wants to see the crisis in adult care transfer to children’s services too.

So far, all we have had is a pledge that the Chancellor is going to do something to boost driverless cars.

Apparently, no-one in the Treasury’s press office recognises a metaphor.

Is anyone in the driving seat?

Joe Anderson is Mayor of Liverpool  

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16 Responses to “We need a Budget for jobs, housing and stability”

  1. Richard MacKinnon says:

    “This is the eighth winter of Tory austerity and it must be the last”.
    We are still borrowing (now 70B/year down from 160B/year 7 years ago. overall debt 1.7T). The debt is still rising. How can that be austerity?
    With regards housing, I just checked Liverpool Housing Trust website, it owns 11,000 properties. Here is idea for you, why not ask LHT what it does with the rent it collects from all those houses. Ask them why they dont use some of it to build some more houses.

  2. Alf says:

    New Labour abstained on the Welfare Reform Act. Shame on them.

  3. john P Reid says:

    New labour, Alf, that was Harriet Harman and ed miliband who weren’t new labour, althoughh i’d imagine if new labour were in power they’d have done the same

  4. Anon says:

    What we are suffering from is Labour’s policies of open door immigration.

    We have imported poverty, and created more by crushing our own people.

    People with the mindset of Anderson are traitors.

  5. Peter Carabine says:

    Yes all these problems and an awful gap between the haves and have yachts and an economic Brexit crisis shrinking wages, rising prices, looming tariffs, lost jobs and foregone investment going to Europe…and yet Corbyn level pegging with May unable to surge ahead as a more appealing Labour Party would be doing by now. His limitation is not just being the most leftist leader ever but the inability to take a crisis and articulate it clearly to traditional voters. By accepting some of the Tory right Brexit Farage nonsense the Conservative Hegemony remains unchallenged and brutally supported by the Mail, Telegraph and Sun. The press billionaires , the Brexit rebels, the neoliberals, the nationalists are winning as Labour’s leaders lacks the vision and persuation of a Blair or Wilson . There is no theme No exposure of the collapse of a fair, just and United Society.

  6. Tafia says:

    Brexit crisis shrinking wages, rising prices, looming tariffs, lost jobs and foregone investment going to Europe

    Oh dear. Where to start., Lets see ‘Brexit cisis shrinking wages’ Well unfortunately for you, wages have been shrinking since before the referendum – since before we even knew we were going to have a referendum.

    ‘Rising Prices’ – You do know thatthe Bank of England has for over 5 years been desperately trying to get inflation to rise? And now it is. Despite the 2% threshold malarky where the BoE has to write to the government if it falls below or rises above that threshold, most economists and bankers will tell you that 4-6% and a base rate to match are the best zones to be in.

    ‘Looming Tariffs’ This is getting boring now and is being well over-played. For starters we are a service driven economy and there are no tariffs on services. Not only that, but any tariffs we may incur should we leave the EU with no deal will not affect most ordinary people and are a two-way thing anyway. As an example go and have a look in your kitchen. Most of the foodstuffs we eat are either from within the UK or from outside the EU. What we do bring in from the EU can actually be replaced with stuff from elsewhere globally and cheaper. Consider this – much of the stuff we eat comes from outside the EU and is subject to EU tariffs. When we leave, those tariffs will no longer apply and the price within the UK will fall. Stuff we bring in from the EU – such as cereals, can be replaced with identical products from the same manufacturer made outside the EU and cheaper because there will be no tariffs. Irish beef will go u, Argentinian beef, Kenyan beef, American and Canadian beef will go down. French/Italian/German wine will go up, Australian/ New Zealan/New World wine will go down.

    ‘Lost Jobs’ – We’ve got more people in work in this country than we have ever had in our history bit as a sheer number and also as a percentage of the working age population. Unemployment is below 5% and we are rapidly heading towards a situation last seen in the early 1970s of having to few people to fill vacancies.

    ‘Foregone investment going to Europe’ Have you told Nissan, BMW, Siemens, Stena Global etc etc and more who are all major global corporations and many headquartered in the EU? Because they are all announcing massive investments and expansions in the UK. Have you told the EU flagship aircraft builder Airbus? Last week they announced the biggest aircraft order they have ever won, worth nearly £40Bn, the wings for which will be built at Broughton in Flintshire. And I could go on. And on. The list of major companies – bith EU headquartered and non-EU headquartered announcing expansions and investment in the EU grows on a daily basis. And all the Irish Sea ferry companies have announced new vewssels, with a larger freight capacity because they all believe deal or no deal freight moving across the Irish Sea between Ireland and the UK is going to continue to increase and they are already at near maximuum capacity. Some of the ports have also just announced large modernisation and expansion programmes. Down on the channel, a Fench software company, under Anglo/French contract, is just putting the finishing touches to the programme that will allow seamless freight movement between UK and France for stuff using eurostar and the channel ports.

    We are leaving. Big business accepts that and is already making the necessary adjustments for all eventualities from a deal to no deal, because business knows Rule 1 – You do not ever stand still. If you do you will fall and they are not going to wait around while politicians – who for the most part know little to nothing about business, posture and glower across negotiating tables.

  7. Landless Peasant says:

    Yes it’s going to be a long hard winter & many will die, not that the Tories care. I have a week to go to next JSA payment, no money left, & one pan of moth bean stew/curry to last me a week, just one bowl of dall per day for a week. That’s a ‘Third World’ diet in 21st century Britain. At least I’m not on Universal Credit, & I’m not Sanctioned, & I do have some Gas & Electricity remaining, others are even worse off than me.I’ve got a roof over my head, others have not. This is what life has come to in Tory Britain. Miliband’s Labour let us down by not opposing the Welfare Reforms, & Corbyn needsto shout a bit louder. The rich are getting richer whilst people are dying.

  8. Landless Peasant says:

    Why did Labour abstain from. voting against Tory welfare Reforms?s and why does Labour agree with Universal Credit “in principle”?

  9. Tafia says:

    @Landless Perasant. Why did Labour abstain from. voting against Tory welfare Reforms?s and why does Labour agree with Universal Credit “in principle”?

    Because not only is it the correct thing to do, but the blue collar working class – who are supposed to be the bed-rock of Labour (not the whining sense-of-entitlement middle class liberals), actually support it, by quite a large percentage. Same as they are pro-Royalty, pro-nuclear weapons and pro-Union Jack.

    And if you don’t speak for the workers then it’s litte short of fraud to use the word ‘Labour’. Not that the blue collar workers vote Labour anymore – they vote tory.

  10. Tafia says:

    Oh and Peter, the following have literally just been announced this afternoon with more announcements to come, for North Wales. An area that has less than 700.000 people.

    ■ £20 million Growth Bid cash on industrial estates at Warren Hall, Flintshire, Bodelwyddan and in Bryn Cegin, Bangor to kick-start private sector investment.

    ■ £42 million on ambitions to expand the industrial estate at Wrexham and the town’s technology park, Snowdonia Aerospace Centre in Llanbedr, Parc Cefni in Llangefni and Parc Cybi at Holyhead, as well as other priorities.

    ■ £50 million on Holyhead Port Redevelopment and Trawsfynydd Centre for Energy Generation.

    ■ £50 millions in skills academies like the North Wales Tourism Academy, Renewable Energy Technology Hub and North Wales Rail Engineering Centre.

    ■ £150 million in a regional transport fund for projects.

    And there are similar announcements being made for the other areas of Wales.

  11. John Wall says:

    @Tafia – You’re right, the working class are generally a long way away from the middle class Marxists in things like Momentum, Cruddas concluded that several years ago. They see things like immigration as just a way of keeping wages down which is why they supported Brexit.

  12. John Wall says:

    @Tafia – It looks like your lot are as good at extracting largesse from Westminster as the DUP:-)

  13. Peter Carabine says:

    Tafia I will not respond to your individual points as some are fake especially on our trade with Europe which be they goods or services will be significantly hit by tariffs on our imports and exports and lie at the core tradegy of leaving a free, seamless trade with 30 odd other nations and their 500 millions people. Like Albania or Serbia we are out of there and that explains why sterling is falling. Even the govt. are telling you the economy is going down into a low 1.5% growth which means economic decline and reduced tax revenues. There is no substitution with Australia, NZ or Americas, for Honda, Nissan, Ford or Toyota assembling of cars for EU sale and so on. Like others their disinvestment will be rapid. As the FT has said many times as has all 6 parties and all living PMs , Brexit is an act of serious self harm to the UK.

  14. Tafia says:

    h be they goods or services will be significantly hit by tariffs on our imports and exports

    Really? Firstly, services are exempt tariffs under WTO – you did know that yes? Secondly, the WTO tariffs on any imports we would take from the EU (provided we didn’t move to cheaper suppliers) per week amount to slightly more than half of our net weekly contribution to the EU. Now, how come you didn’t know that? Or if you did, how come you weren’t prepared to say it?

    Even the govt is telling you the economy is going down into a low 1.5% growth Except that both the govt and the various forecasters will also tell you (something you omitted to point out – why?) that although Brexit accoubnts for some of it, and that is to be expected because of the re-adjustments this entails most of it is down to other unavoidable factors.

    And why do you persist with a blatant falsehood that these companies are or will disinvest, when the reality is they have all announced palns to expand their UK operation. Whi is lying – them or you, because one of you is.

    As for the FT, depends which columnist in it you read (I’m a subscriber). And as for PMs, Major presided of a massive crash caused primarily by his governments policies. Blair caused a massive consumer & mortgage debt bubble along with the now ridiculed ‘light touch’ which were foundations of 2008. And as for Brown – Oh dear. Relying on the economic records of three failed Prime Ministers is sad.

  15. Tafia says:

    And this evening Peter, Airbus, Siemens and Rolls Royce announced a joint venture on a new aircraft with the body to be built in France, part of the engines in Germany, part of the engines in UK and the wings in UK.

  16. Tafia says:

    And in todays business news Peter, Siemens has announced plans to separate it’s medical arm (Healthineers) from it’s main arm and sell 25% of it to investors in order to raise funds to EXPAND it’s UK operations in Eynsham, Sudbury and Llanberis.

    We also learn that the UK remains top of chosen european destinations for technology investment, with 2017’s total being greater than France and Germany combined and that this is forecast to grow as is the gap between us and our competitors. We also learn that the UK is europe’s most popular destination for immigramnts with high-tech skills, especially programming, and that this is forecast to continue and increase.

    County’s going to the dogs.

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