Chancellor’s 3 March Budget an opportunity to begin a new chapter for Britain, says Alex

The 3 March Budget is an opportunity to begin a new chapter for Britain – and equip the country for the post-Covid world, says Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham.

In a major speech today (18 February 2021) Labour Party leader, Keir Starmer, showed how the Coronavirus pandemic has exposed an insecure economy and called on the Chancellor of the Exchequer to tackle major inequalities in health and opportunity in his Budget.

If a Labour Chancellor was presenting the 3 March Budget they would:

  • Keep the Universal Credit increase of £20 – benefiting the 8,753 households receiving Universal Credit in Stockton North;
  • Provide funding to local councils and ease the burden on local taxpayers;
  • Cancel a public sector pay freeze;
  • Tackle youth unemployment through an enhanced Kickstart to create more apprenticeships scheme;
  • Update and extend the furlough scheme.

Keir Starmer also set out his plans for a “British Recovery Bond” that would tackle deep rooted inequality through investment in communities such as the ones in Stockton North – a constituency with 34.4% of children living in poverty. There are around 75,000 households claiming Universal Credit in the Tees Valley.

Alex said:

“The Covid pandemic has exposed the effects of a decade of Tory Government and austerity. Child poverty has shot up by just under ten per cent in Stockton North in this time, and a man living in Stockton Town Centre lives eighteen years fewer than a man living a mile down the road.

“The post-Covid world presents us with an opportunity to do things better;  ensure no child goes hungry by extending free school meals, tackle health inequalities by investing in our NHS – including an new hospital for Stockton-on-Tees – and give people proper social security, not cut it at a cost of £1000 a year per household.

“It’s also an opportunity to rebuild our economy with a proper local industrial plan to not only replace the 12,500 jobs lost in the Tees Valley since the start of the pandemic but support local industries to create the jobs of the future.

“Sadly the Tories offer us a further decade of austerity and inequality. If they are serious about rebuilding a post-Covid Britain they need to bring forward a radical platform that tackles poverty and creates real opportunities for everyone.”