The area’s parliamentarians have criticised the UK budget unveiled in the House of Commons last week, with Labour MPs and Nationalist MSPs launching scathing attacks on the coalition government.
West Dunbartonshire MP Gemma Doyle blasted the chancellor’s measures, believing public money is being earmarked to bring down the tax bills of the country’s richest people. Labour’s shadow defence minister said: ”It’s the end of the pretence from the Tory and Lib Dem government that we are ‘all in this together’.
“The chancellor is giving tax breaks to the rich whilst ordinary families and pensioners will lose out. The Budget is riddled with unfairness, putting millionaires above the millions of people feeling the squeeze – at a time when growth is flat-lining, unemployment is rocketing and people throughout the country are really struggling.”
Controversy has raged over the government’s decision to cut the top rate of income tax to 45p, however the treasury countered that other changes in the budget mean anyone earning more than £150,000 will actually pay an extra £1,300 per year.
Conservatives and Liberal Democrats also hailed the chancellor’s decision to increase the amount of money a person can earn before they start paying tax: The new £9,000 tax free allowance means two million low-paid workers will no longer have to pay any income tax, while anyone earning under £100,000 will pay less.
Labour’s John Robertson – the MP for Glasgow North West – believes the budget will be bad for Britain’s economy. He said: “The government’s economic policies are hurting but not working.
“What we need is a budget for jobs and growth with support for families at its heart to ease the squeeze and get the economy moving.
“That’s why the chancellor should announce a temporary reversal of his disastrous VAT rise, which is costing the average family with two kids £450 each year. Cutting VAT now would boost confidence, help families feeling the squeeze and get our economy moving again.”
The area’s constituency members of the Scottish Parliament, both of whom are from the SNP, also weighed-in against the coalition.
Bill Kidd MSP – who represents Drumchapel, Knightswood and Yoker at Holyrood – told Clydebank Live: “The Westminster budget missed the opportunity to create jobs by stimulating the economy with funding of housing, schools and other projects which would get people back to work.
“Instead the Con-Dems have played around with tax which has been damaging for those coming up to retirement, at best neutral for most others and beneficial only to the rich. They have failed Scotland again.”
His colleague Gil Paterson, the MSP for Clydebank, added: “This was a budget for millionaires, the super-rich in London’s home counties. They will be £40,000 a year better off because of the top rate tax cut.
“The Tory/LibDem government have forgotten the financial pressure people are feeling throughout the country, not just Scotland. London’s priorities are never anybody else’s.”
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