LABOUR leader Jeremy Corbyn delivered a scathing, old-fashioned political attack on the chancellor’s Budget speech, decrying it as “a recovery built on sand on a Budget of failure”.
In a far more effective despatch box delivery than his deputy John McDonnell in last Autumn’s Budget, he shrewdly forwent any visual props – aka Mao’s Little Red Book – and instead relied on the quality of his oratory.
The Islington North MP said the Budget was the “culmination of six years of his failures” where “growth is revised down last year, this year and every year that’s forecast – business investment is revised down, government investment revised down”.
He trotted off a list of areas where he believes Osborne and his party has “failed on the budget deficit, failed on debt, failed on investment, failed on productivity, failed on trade deficit, failed on the welfare cap, failed to tackle inequality in this country”.
The shadow leader tore into Osborne’s rhetoric on the “Northern Powerhouse” claiming that “97% of the senior staff in the Northern Powerhouse have been outsourced to London” implying it was essentially little more than a myth.
The reality, he decried, “was systematic underfunding of the north”.
Corbyn’s more playful side poked fun at the chancellor’s much vaunted Autumn Budget plans for a Garden City in Ebbsfleet and its slow progress in the proposed construction of 15,000 homes, when just 386 had actually been built.
“That’s 12 homes for every press release”, he trumpeted, adding that more press releases were needed to build more homes.
And he said “the gulf between what the Conservative government expects from the wealthiest and what it demands from ordinary British taxpayers could not be greater.” The “mates’ rates” deals for big corporations on tax deals is something they will be forever remembered for.
Corbyn said it was a budget for hedge funds rather than small businesses and slammed Osborne for failing to address chronic deficits in the NHS.