Budget 2015: reaction across the nations

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Across the nations the chancellor’s Budget statement has met with a less than enthusiastic response.

Scotland

Whilst welcoming what he describes as the chancellor’s “U-turn” on support for the North Sea Oil industry, the SNP’s deputy first minister John Swinney has slammed the UK’s government’s continued austerity drive.

Swinney, also the Scottish finance secretary, confirmed as well that, based upon figures published by the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR), Scotland will see another £12 billion of cumulative cuts in real terms over the period to 2019.

He declared:

“The chancellor had every opportunity to end the damaging cuts from the UK government and has instead turned his back on investment in public services.

“We face the same £30 billion of unfair and unnecessary cuts today as we did yesterday. That is despite the clear admission from the chancellor that there is headroom to invest to protect our public services.

“If we are to believe the chancellor that the economy is making such a successful recovery, then there is no justification for the destructive cuts that impact on the most vulnerable in society. That tells you everything you need to know about the values and priorities of this chancellor.”

Speaking on the measures to support the north sea oil industry, he continued:

“Measures to safeguard the North Sea are a step in the right direction for our oil and gas sector. The Scottish government has been calling for such measures, along with the industry, for some time. Today’s measures are a glaring admission by the chancellor that his policy for the North Sea has been wrong and the poor stewardship by the UK government has had a detrimental impact on our oil and gas sector and the many people who work in the industry. It has taken the chancellor four years to admit the tax rise he implemented in 2011 was a mistake. A heavy price has been paid for this mismanagement.

“Today I cautiously welcome the U-turn by the UK government to take action on the future of the North Sea. We will study the proposals in detail. It is now essential that work is focussed on boosting investment and growth in the North Sea sector.”

Wales

In Wales, finance minister, Jane Hutt has noted that the final Budget of this Parliament means that since 2010, Wales has seen real terms cuts of 8 per cent since 2010.

Declaring it to be “yet another Budget which leaves too many challenges and unanswered questions”, Hutt responded:

“The UK government’s austerity programme during this Parliament has had a devastating impact on Wales and is set to continue with a further £30bn of cuts forecast up until 2017-18.

“Let’s not forget that since 2010, our Budget has been cut in real terms by 8 per cent by the UK government. That’s the equivalent of £1.5bn being taken out of the public services across Wales. We have always said that these cuts have been too fast and too deep and others agree. Only last week several independent commentators including the LSE said that the pace of the austerity programme had been a mistake.”

She continued:

“This is the chancellor’s fifth major Budget and another missed opportunity to address the crucial issue of fair funding for Wales, something the Welsh public also recognise.  We have also been seeking greater financial flexibility to put us in line with other devolved administrations – the fact that neither of these have been addressed is disappointing to say the least.”

Northern Ireland

Across Northern Ireland, whilst responses from the politicians have been sparse to say the least, minds will once again be focussed on corporation tax.

With all parties at Stormont focussed on seeking a way out of the crisis brought on my Sinn Fein’s decision last week to pull its support for welfare, the Chancellor once again urged all sides to get behind the  Stormont House Agreement if it is to secure the coveted prize of gaining powers over the setting of corporation tax.

Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter

6 Responses to “Budget 2015: reaction across the nations”

  1. JoeDM

    So England does not count as a ‘Nation’ !!!!

  2. Selohesra

    No England is just the magic money tree for the preferred Nations to harvest

  3. AlanGiles

    After making so much noise and for all his pointing and gesturing yesterday, Balls says that he wouldn’t change anything in yesterdays budget. It’s a hollow vessel that makes most noise

  4. littleoddsandpieces

    The Tories threaten council and government jobs by privatisation as shown by the extreme event of Barnet council’s wholesale privatisation, with cuts to most council services inevitable by a firm wanting to make private profit.

    Council workers in privatisation usually are fullied out of the jobs, so new staff can be hired by the private firms on much lower terms and conditions and pay.

    The Tories threaten the free at point of use NHS.

    The Tories offer the end of the welfare state coming with Universal Credit’s permanent sanctions and the end of the state pension with the flat rate state pension.

    Labour’s Mr Balls does not offer to undo Tory cuts nor say if further spending cuts will continue.

    I am a victim of welfare and state pension reform,
    unable to work after a lifetime of being the hardworking worker,
    paying income tax and National Insurance contributions, and still paying the 75 per cent of all tax from people to government of stealth indirect taxes and VAT,
    denied state penson at 60,
    denied any state pension for life from the flat rate pension,
    denied disability and chronic sick benefit and
    too ill / disabled to comply with Jobseekers
    (replaced by UC after 2016 with its permanent sanctions anyway).

    This above then puts me inside the half of the UK population that are poor from 18 to 100 (and their kids and grandkids).

    Because 97 per cent of the benefits bill is to the working poor and poor pensioners. Poor pensiners come (and remain) inside the working poor.

    UC will hit those in work, permanently sanctioning part time workers for not getting full time hours, when most new jobs since the recession began, have been low waged part time.

    And the low waged fall out of the welfare state and gain nil state pension by being below the Lower Earnings Level to get automatic National Insurance credits, so gaining no NI history.

    The flat rate pension grants nil state pension for less than 10 years NI history.

    There is a way that blogs can bring about a Labour that helps the poor.

    There are a huge number of Tory and Lib Dem marginals in England where the poor now outnumber all other voters.

    And the poor will be home during the May Bank Holiday week,
    when most other folk will be away from home or abroad.
    Charter flights are usually Sunday to Sunday.

    Labour alone, and even with the SNP, cannot gain sufficient votes to rule a majority government, in the predicted most severe hung UK parliament in history.

    Voting is very much a minority activity in the UK.

    We hear folk say that voting for a small party is of no use as they cannot form a government on their own.

    But never again will big parties being able to form a government without a coalition partner and this does not need to be just TWO PARTIES.

    In fact TWO PARTIES are still insufficient to rule a UK government, and this will continue into the future now.

    Never again will we have ONE PARTY ruling the UK government.

    Multi party coalitions are the norm in Europe and have successfully ruled over many many years.

    To change Labour and save ourselves from penniless starvation of all ages, we need to vote differently and bring in other allies to Labour that will the lives of those we care about.

    Because otherwise we are drifting into the terrible spectre of revolution.

    The newspapers do not report all the massive protests going on all the time and growing in the UK., neither do the TV news.

    So to bring in Russell Brand’s peaceful evolution, I have put together my small personal website, that I hope helps small parties, blogs and poor voters to save our lives.

    http://www.anastasia-england.me.uk

  5. Guest

    So now you’re a Nation in your own mind.

  6. Leon Wolfeson

    Why would he? He’s also a Neoliberal.

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