In a week dominated by Brexit votes in Parliament, you may have missed the Chancellor’s spring statement, writes Gloria De Piero MP.
His speech on the state of the nation’s finances was very revealing about the Conservative Party’s priorities.
The headlines about a growing economy and falling unemployment were carefully curated, ignoring the more worrying trends that are emerging.
One of these is the speed at which inequality in this country is growing, with in-work poverty becoming a serious problem under this Government.
Average wages are less than they were 10 years ago, and the growth in insecure work has rocketed.
This means that two-thirds of the working age poor in Britain are now from working households.
It isn’t just those on low wages who are struggling though.
Four years of the benefits freeze is set to leave 10 million households worse off by £420 on average per year, according to the Institute of Fiscal Studies.
Meanwhile, the Resolution Foundation has stated that tax changes introduced by the Government in April mean that the richest top fifth of people will be gaining £280.
While the rich get richer, the poorest families are being hit hardest, and child poverty rises.
Borrowing is down to its lowest level for 17 years, and as the Resolution Foundation has explained, this is partly down to higher income tax revenue.
This looks like good news until you realise that it is higher earners who pay higher taxes and it is the top 0.1 per cent of earners who have seen their income shoot up the most.
The gap between the richest and poorest is growing and growing on the Tories’ watch.
Meanwhile, public services are still suffering the effects of cuts and chronic under-funding.
Police, councils, schools and hospitals are all struggling, but the Chancellor plods on with the Govern-ment’s programme of austerity and cuts.
It is time he made the rich and big businesses pay their share rather than just cutting services we all rely on.