Despite the bluster in George Osborne’s Summer budget, he once again failed to realise the issues of families across Reading. £12bn in welfare cuts will see working age benefits (tax credits and child benefit included) cut in real terms, the public sector will see pay rises capped at 1% (compared to 11% for our MP’s), maintenance grants for poorer students to attend University have been scrapped and 18-21 year olds have been hit with draconian measures on housing benefit. The Chancellor did manage to find money to cut corporation tax for big businesses, but not business rates for small firms.
For Reading, the issues of high housing costs were ignored. There were no plans for a desperately needed house building programme or to deal with sky high private rents but subsidies for social housing are to be phased out. Reading Borough Council will see further unfair cuts to its budget, with funding per head cut by £103 in Reading compared to £38 per head in Wokingham. The Council will have to deliver vital services such as social care and educational improvement, with less and less money. The Government say they are helping families, whilst taking money away from them in tax credits. As usual with this Chancellor, the rhetoric was somewhat different to the reality.
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