Jeremy Corbyn warned that the Budget will “unravel” within days as the implications of continuing austerity will cause “misery” for people across the country.
The Labour leader attacked the government’s failure to reduce the deficit, a rise in rough sleeping and the fact 120,000 people will spend Christmas in temporary accommodation, adding: “It’s a record of failure with a forecast of more to come.”
Mr Hammond ended stamp duty for first-time buyers on sales up to £300,000 but that fell apart when the Treasury admitted that no-one has worked out how the formula will work.
In his second Budget, the chancellor also announced measures to speed up the payment of universal credit benefits and a rise in the National Living Wage to £7.83 an hour.
He said: “The reality test of this Budget has to be how it affects ordinary people’s lives. I believe as the days go ahead and this Budget unravels, the reality will be a lot of people will be no better off – and the misery many are in will be continuing.”
He said one in six pensioners were living in poverty – “the worst rate anywhere in western Europe” – adding that the poorest tenth of households would lose 10% of their income by 2022, while the richest would lose just 1%. We were promised with lots of hype a revolutionary Budget – the reality is, nothing has changed,” he said.
“People were looking for help from this Budget and they have been let down by a government that, like the economy they have presided over, is weak and unstable and in need of urgent change.
“They call this a Budget fit for the future – the reality is, this is a government no longer fit for office.”
Corbyn added: “It’s a record of failure with a forecast of more. Economic growth has been revised down. Productivity growth has been revised down. Business investment revised down. People’s wages and living standards revised down. What sort of “strong economy, fit for the future” is that?
“The deficit was due to be eradicated by 2015, then 2016, then 2017, then 2020 and now 2025. They’re missing their major targets but the failed and damaging policy of austerity remains.
“The Health Secretary has said the pay cap is over but where is the money to fund a pay rise? The Chancellor hasn’t been clear today, not for NHS workers nor for our police, firefighters, teachers or teaching assistants, bin collectors, tax collectors or our armed forces personnel.”