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A decade of letting Britain down: Stephen Morgan MP and the Shadow Chancellor condemn Spending Review as “missed opportunity”

Stephen Morgan MP and Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds MP have condemned the Government’s Spending Review as a “missed opportunity” for our city and accused the Chancellor of failing to take responsible choices to get the economy back on its feet.

Labour has called for a relentless focus on jobs and growth. But instead of setting Britain on the path to recovery, the Chancellor has let the country down again by hitting people in Portsmouth three hammer blows to their personal finances:

  • a pay freeze for our community health workers, teachers, police officers and firefighters – an insult to our frontline workers, forcing them to tighten their belts and damaging our economic recovery
  • a hidden council tax bombshell, with the fine print of the Chancellor’s announcement showing he’s planning for council tax rises of 5% next year
  • ploughing ahead with the plan to cut Universal Credit, taking £1,000 a year out of the pockets of our poorest families

Even where the Chancellor promised new investment, the Conservative party’s track record over the last ten years casts real doubt over their ability to deliver. The Chancellor has also failed to address the key challenges we face as a country:

  • Child poverty is set to hit five million by 2023. Childcare costs in the UK are among the highest in the developed world. Here in Portsmouth part time childcare for a child under two costs £38.90 more than it did a decade ago.
  • Over one million jobs have gone since this crisis started – and younger workers have been hit hard. 2018-2019 saw the lowest number of young apprenticeships for a decade.  Trade apprenticeships have been falling in every part of our country, down 100 since 2010 in Portsmouth South alone.
  • Over the last decade, pay for working people in Britain has stagnated while average real weekly earnings have barely changed – average real weekly wages went up just 1% in the last decade.
  • The country is getting less safe and less healthy – police numbers across Hampshire have dropped by 1,050 in a decade and we have fewer GPs and many residents unable to access a dentist.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“The people of Portsmouth know that the Tories have let this area down. After ten, long years in government, we’ve still seen no action on ensuring proper investment in our city.

Instead they hit local people hard with a triple whammy of key worker pay freezes, Universal Credit cuts and a hidden council tax bombshell. Yet again we face another year of paying more, but getting less”.

Anneliese Dodds MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, said:

“This week the Chancellor took irresponsible choices that won’t get Britain on the road to recovery.

The Conservatives have spent the last ten years wasting billions on pet projects and delayed developments while the things that matter to people’s lives have got worse. 

What Portsmouth needed was swift action to recover jobs, retrain workers, and rebuild business, not the triple whammy of key worker pay freezes, cuts to Universal Credit and a hidden council tax rise.”