War of words: Party leaders hit out at each other over the budget

The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne outside No 11 Downing Street, London, before delivering the Budget Statement in the House of Commons. Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire
The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne outside No 11 Downing Street, London, before delivering the Budget Statement in the House of Commons. Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

It was handbags at dawn as two party leaders came to blows over the budget - and what it means for the people of Milton Keynes.

In a damning attack on the first Conservative budget in 20 years, Labour group leader Pete Marland said it “fails” the city and will push more families into poverty.

But opposition leader Councillor Edith Bald quickly hit back Mr Marland for “playing politics” and reminded him of Labour’s “shameful” budget for MK in February.

“It is not surprising to hear that the Labour-led council are not supportive of this budget,” said Mrs Bald, Conservative group leader.

“Their record since taking back the council has been anti-business anti- jobs and shameful financial management.

“Having a strong economy means we can continue to invest in our NHS and meet our defence commitments, helping families across the country feel more secure in their homes.

“The changes to welfare provide the incentive to work and reduce the number of those who are stuck in long term dependency, whilst ensuring the most vulnerable in society remain supported.”

But according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, 13 million UK families will lose £260 a year on average because of tax and benefits changes.

While Mrs Bald believes workers will be supported through the living wage, with more well-paid jobs being created by reducing the tax burden on city businesses, Mr Marland says the budget leaves people worse off than before.

He said: “This budget is a missed opportunity to give Milton Keynes the devolution and control over services we need to meet the challenges of growth.

“The Chancellor talks a good game, but for places like Milton Keynes there was nothing from the Tories other than the promise of more huge cuts to our council budget.

“As we continue to grow, the Tories continue to fail to invest in our growth.”

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