Osborne won’t be able to run away from five years of failure – my article in the Sunday Mirror

Having run the last three London Marathons, I’ve felt jealous watching people in training for next month’s race, knowing that I won’t be taking part.

But even if I got a place at this late stage, it would be pointless: you can’t start training with six weeks to go. That’s George Osborne’s problem too – he’s left it too late.

Because when he delivers this week’s Budget the Chancellor won’t be able to run away from five years of failure and broken promises.

Working people are worse off. Independent experts at the Institute for Fiscal Studies say that tax and benefit changes since 2010 have cost families an average of £1,127 a year.

And new figures show some families have been hit even harder: a one earner couple with children are an average of £1,949 a year worse off.

No last minute pre-election tax cut can make up for that. As everyone knows, this Tory Chancellor gives with one hand but takes away much more with the other hand.

And we all know our NHS is in crisis. But George Osborne is planning more extreme spending cuts after the election which go way beyond simply balancing the books.

Nobody believes he can deliver these plans without raising VAT again or putting our NHS at risk.

What we need instead is a better plan and a Labour Budget which puts working people first and saves our NHS.

So Ed Miliband and I will raise living standards with an £8 minimum wage, 25 hours of free childcare for working parents and by freezing energy bills until 2017.

We’ll guarantee apprenticeships for every school leaver, cut tuition fees to £6,000 and reduce business rates for small firms.

We’ll rescue our NHS from the Tories with 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 GPs and cancer tests guaranteed in one week – paid for by closing tax loopholes and a mansion tax on properties over £2 million.

We’ll cut taxes for 24 million working people with a lower 10p starting rate of tax and scrap the bedroom tax. And we’ll reverse the Tory tax cut for millionaires to help balance the books in a fairer way.

That’s the Budget we need. Not a desperate dash from a Chancellor who’s shown that he’s not fit to run a thing. ​

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Posted March 14th, 2015 by Ed