On Wednesday, this government delivered its first budget to announce its taxation and spending plans for the coming year.
With the economy faltering, public services cut to the bone, and the threat of climate change ever increasing, this budget was unfortunately another missed opportunity to address the many issues facing our community.
Warwick and Leamington residents’ voices must be heard by the government. Many of you have written to share with me what you wanted in the budget – ranging from compensation for WASPI women, to reinstating the over-75s free TV licence and investing in health and social care. All of these should have been be included in the government’s plans and I will be supporting these calls.
Before the budget, and in my speech in response, I called for the chancellor to:
Support the automotive industry to transition to a low-carbon transport future
Provide central government support for public services like education, health and policing (not just through council tax)
Invest to build 100,000 council homes a year to tackle the housing crisis
Reform business rates to support our high streets
These investments are critical to ensure we rebuild into a sustainable society, but there was unfortunately little good news on any of these things. I’m afraid this is a government that talks the talk but does not walk the walk.
I am pleased, however, to see financial support for the coronavirus crisis, which is likely to become more serious in the weeks ahead. It is vital that proper sick pay is guaranteed for all, and that small businesses will receive support to weather the storm too.
As you will have seen, the advice currently is to regularly wash your hands for 20 seconds, avoid touching your face, catch and bin any sneezes, and ring 111 if you think you may have the virus or have come into contact with someone who has. They can then advise whether you should self-isolate.