GUEST COLUMN: Budget will hit poorest and most vulnerable the hardest, by Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero

MP Gloria De Piero
MP Gloria De Piero

You can sum up last week’s Budget like this - the poorest and most vulnerable people in society are set to suffer yet again, while the richest will benefit the most.

Over half a million people with disabilities are going to see cuts made to their personal independence payments – the money many receive so they can pay somebody to help them wash or go to the toilet.

At the same time, big businesses are getting tax breaks thanks to a reduction in the rate of corporation tax, while capital gains tax is being reduced in a move that will only be welcomed by the richest five per cent of our country, who will pay less tax when they sell their investments for profit.

The rise in the threshold at which people start paying income tax will take the personal tax allowance to £11,500, but people who are on the lowest wages don’t pay any tax so they won’t be a penny better off.

In fact independent experts says that 80 per cent of gains from the income tax changes – which also included a tax break for top earners by raising the higher rate tax threshold to £45,000 – will go to the wealthiest in society.

Another important line to take from this Budget is that the UK’s economy is not improving under this Tory government:

• GDP growth forecasts have been revised down.

• Wage growth has been revised down.

• Business investment has been revised down.

• Forecasts for productivity have been revised down.

The Chancellor will fail to meet his own targets on cutting borrowing. He has failed to close the deficit and he has failed to reduce the government debt.

The only thing booming under his failed economic plan is inequality.

Mike Ashley, the owner of Sports Direct, has been repeatedly asked to appear before the Business, Innovation and Skills select committee to answer questions about working practices at the company’s Shirebrook warehouse.

He has repeatedly refused, but is now being formally summoned to appear in Parliament on June 7.

I was set to have a meeting in Shirebrook with Mr Ashley and my colleagues Toby Perkins MP and Dennis Skinner MP so that we could raise our concerns about the conditions employees at the warehouse have to work in, but this meeting is not an alternative to appearing before the select committee.

We have heard some horror stories and the story of my constituent Liga Shaw, whose dad is now in a wheelchair after collapsing with a blood clot on his brain when he was too scared to phone in sick, is one of the worst.

I hope Mr Ashley provides the answers to our questions soon.