Cambs MEP says budget was “directionless, distracted and disorganised” and Britain should not become a “bargain basement tax haven”

Alex Mayor is the Labour MEP for the east of England

Alex Mayor is the Labour MEP for the east of England - Credit: Archant

Cambridgeshire MEP Alex Mayer has accused chancellor Philip Hammond of “burying his head in the sand” following yesterday’s budget statement.

Ms Mayer said the chancellor failed to provide a “clear plan for a prosperous Britain after Brexit” and offered no protection for working people.

She went on to describe the Government as “directionless, distracted, and disorganised” over their Brexit plans and said the budget failed to provide adequate provision for the future of the UK economy and projects in the county.

“The chancellor is burying his head in the sand,” said Ms Mayer.

“Britain on the brink of leaving the world’s largest market and companies need some certainty, yet the chancellor offered no reassurances throughout his hour-long speech. Where is the plan for organisations going to lose EU Structural funding?”

The MEP has also raised concerns about the level of borrowing and the lack of clarity on earnings.

“Britain is going to borrow £100 billion more than expected before the Brexit vote,” she added.

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“Growth has been revised down and rising inflation is devaluing people’s wages further. It is time for the Tories to drop their threat to turn the UK into a bargain basement tax haven and stop playing political football with the future of workers and our economy. Six million Britons still earn less than the living wage yet the Government has repeatedly failed to tackle low pay or offer hope to those in insecure work.”

Mr Hammond, told MPs, there had been a “dramatic increase” in the number of people working as self-employed and he wanted to make the system fairer so there were not “differences in tax treatment”.

“The disparity between the rates paid by the self-employed and employees “undermines the fairness of our tax system”, he said.

Mr Hammond acknowledged the social care system was under pressure with an ageing population, and set aside £2 billion for services in England over the next three years, which he said would allow councils to “act now to commission new care packages”.

He also said the government would set out the options for long-term funding of the social care system later in the year.

Mr Hammond also announced £320 million of funding for 110 new free schools and grammar schools; free school transport extended to all children on free school meals who attend a selective school and £100 million to place more GPs in accident and emergency departments for next winter.

An additional £325 million is to allow the first NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plans to proceed.