Liberal Democrats

The Budget - your exclusive briefing

Here's what you need to know about this year's Budget ➡️

By Dan Schmeising

Palace of Westminster.

Today’s Budget was - as expected - another missed opportunity for the Tories to introduce a fairer deal for Britain.

Whether it’s coming up on the doorstep or you’re discussing the announcements online, we want to make it as easy as possible for you to get the facts you need and convince people that this Tory plan isn’t working. So we’ve put together an exclusive members’ briefing on some of the key talking points, and what we want to do about them.

Busy? We've added a TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read) to each section. It's a quick summary of what you need to know so you can get the key information quickly.

Contents

Education

TL;DR: £2 billion extra is a drop in the ocean compared to what is needed. Schools are struggling to keep the lights on - you can’t “level up” without taking education seriously.

The Government announced £1.8 billion extra in catch-up funding, in addition to £3 billion already confirmed. £5 billion for education sounds great - but it’s not enough. The government’s own adviser recommended triple that (£15 billion).  

This funding works out at approximately £1.11 per student per day. At a time when money is so short many teachers are having to buy their own stationery, that won’t even cover their lunch.

Access to high-quality, well-funded education is huge for social mobility. If the Government’s so keen to “level up” the country, then why is it cutting education to the bone? 

Lib Dems would: Fund our schools by at least the full recommended £15 billion, with some of that money going to parents for schooling-related costs and extracurricular opportunities. Education should be lifelong, so we’d also invest heavily in re-training for adults - to make changing careers much, much easier. 

The cost of living - the most basic essentials of food and warmth - keeps getting more expensive, and people’s incomes can't keep up.

Cost of Living

TL;DR: Banks get tax cuts, while poorest families hit with UC cut and NI hike in the midst of ever-rising costs.

A cost of living crisis is looming. But the Chancellor threw money at his old banker mates and took even more from people struggling to get by instead.

Thanks to this Government’s catastrophic Brexit deal, the supply chain is in crisis and over 1 million EU immigrants have left the country. That shortage of workers and extra red tape means the weekly shop is getting more and more expensive for many.

In addition, 2.5 million people are living in fuel poverty due to poor insulation and heat loss. The Tories don’t care - they announced absolutely diddly squat in extra funding to help with rising heating bills.

The Chancellor’s announcement on the Universal Credit taper is giving just a third of what he snatched away. And millions of families who are not in work will not be helped at all.

The Chancellor writes blank cheques for his mates while preaching financial responsibility for the rest of us.

A lone parent on minimum wage part-time still loses £30 a month next year. All this will wipe out a huge chunk of the proposed minimum wage increase.

The cost of living - the most basic essentials of food and warmth - keeps getting more expensive, and people’s incomes can't keep up.

The Chancellor writes blank cheques for his mates while preaching financial responsibility for the rest of us. He slashed profit surcharge on banks, and billions of pounds of dodgy contracts were given to people with Conservative connections during the pandemic. 

Lib Dems would: double the Warm Home Discount on energy bills and extend it to everyone on Pension Credit and Universal Credit. Our 10-year emergency plan to insulate homes would cut energy bills and make fuel poverty a thing of the past.

We’d fund this by taxing windfalls on fossil fuel companies - not cutting even more from people who need our help the most. 

Oh, and we’d also save a chunk by not wasting £37 billion on a failed Test and Trace system.

Sassy cat GIF

Environment

TL;DR: The Government is effectively pouring money into the pockets of private jet owners and encouraging people to make more car journeys. Right before we host a huge climate summit.

The Chancellor cancelled planned tax increases on petrol and domestic flights. Fossil fuel-burning cars and short-haul plane journeys are two of the most environmentally damaging ways to travel. It’s an awful precedent for COP 26, which starts on Friday. 

In fact - just days before our approach to fighting the climate crisis is put under the international microscope - Sunak didn’t mention the word “climate” in his budget once. 

The Conservatives aren’t taking the climate crisis seriously.

Lib Dems would: invest £150 billion into a Green Recovery Plan to promote active and zero-emission travel, protect our countryside and clean up our air. This will be paid for by taxing the wealthy and frequent fliers - not the less well-off. 

Councils have already been stretched to breaking point by years of Tory cuts. So they’ll be forced to hike up council tax to make up the difference.

Local Services

TL;DR: the Government sees local authorities as an easy target for cuts because it can blame councils for the consequences. Expect your council tax to go up. 

The Local Government Authority projects councils will be facing an £8 billion black hole in their budgets by 2024. The Tory Government has responded with… £4.8 billion. We’ll let you do the maths. 

Councils have already been stretched to breaking point by years of Tory cuts. So they’ll be forced to hike up council tax to make up the difference.

People in less well-off parts of the country already pay up to 20 times more in council tax than those in ultra-affluent areas like Kensington and Chelsea. This is yet another attack on normal working British people.

Lib Dems would: use our experience of successfully running local authorities to build a better relationship with and funding for councils. 

The Tories would rather spend desperately needed aid money on their wealthy chums.

Foreign Aid

TL;DR: the Tories will be keeping the cut in foreign aid for at least an extra year than what they originally promised

Cutting international aid in the middle of a global pandemic was low. And now, the timeline for restoring that aid is getting further and further away.

Despite the claim that the economy is recovering, cuts to the UK’s foreign aid budget will remain until at least 2024-25.

And that’s just the beginning of it. The Treasury has already been called out for double-dipping - claiming money for international debt relief as part of the budget. The Tories would rather spend desperately needed aid money on their wealthy chums.

Lib Dems would: prioritise development that helps the poorest and ties in with our strategic international objectives, including gender equality and a greener planet. UK aid prevents suffering. We enshrined the 0.7% aid spending commitment in law and we remain committed to Britain’s role as a world leader in providing aid to those most in need. 

Share this post on social media