Michael Dugher MP

Working hard for Barnsley East

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Budgets: 'The Devil is in the detail'

This article appeared as a column in the Barnsley Chronicle on Friday 17th March 2017.

For days in advance of budget day, the Government like to leak (or "trail") certain announcements to favourite newspapers and to carefully 'manage expectations' - either good or bad. 

On the day itself, we have the customary photo of the chancellor outside No 11 holding up his red briefcase and then the House of Commons endures an hour of painful soundbites and political knockabout. 

But in the days that follow a budget, independent experts pour over the budget - combined with other measures - to see what it all actually means.

So what does it mean for folk back in Barnsley? Well according to the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies, working families with children are on average £1,400 a year worse off. 

When it came to the self-employed, the Tories tried to break their manifesto promise as the Chancellor launched a £2 billion tax raid on them with his hike in National Insurance Contributions (NICs).

In Barnsley, that would have meant 5,300 self-employed people would have seen their tax bills rise.

However, such was the unpopularity of this pledge, the Government were forced into an embarrassing U-turn this week. 

But the Budget still falls short. For example, it did little to ease the NHS crisis. The promised £2 billion for social care was a classic case of giving a little bit with one hand, whilst taking a lot more with the other, and will do little to plug the £4.6 billion already cut since 2010.

Despite promises of extra cash and 'fairer funding', Barnsley schools are already struggling under huge Government cut backs. Their budgets shrink by up to £6.6 million by 2020.

But of course there are always some winners on budget day. Big business continues to get big tax cuts and the Government is still pushing ahead with a £1 billion cut in inheritance tax for the wealthiest estates.

So when it comes to government budgets, the devil is in the detail. We've had one U-turn. I'll be campaigning for a few more. 


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