Cheadle MP blasts budget - "missed opportunities" says Mark Hunter

March 23, 2006 11:14 AM

Cheadle's Liberal Democrat MP - Mark Hunter - has blasted Gordon Brown's latest Budget announced yesterday as one of missed opportunities. Commenting immediately after the Chancellor's statement in the House of Commons yesterday Mr Hunter said, "The Chancellor could have tackled the unfair tax system; he could have made the environment a priority; he could have faced up to the crisis in the pensions system. He did none of these things. This is a tired Budget from a Chancellor who has run out of ideas and steam"

Mark Hunter and his Lib Dem colleagues in Parliament are particularly incensed by the withdrawal of the £200 Council Tax rebate for pensioners which now looks like a one-off . He said "It is unclear why the pensioners need support in a general election year, but not the year after. No wonder people are cynical. This means every pensioner household faces a £200 rise in their bills this year, in addition to any increases made by the Council. Liberal Democrats would scrap council tax altogether and replace it with a system based on ability to pay".

On the pensions crisis Mr Hunter added, "I know from my own casework in Cheadle that many local residents are concerned about the looming pensions deficits and worried that they will have insufficient funds in their retirement. They will be as disappointed as I am that the government has failed to address this major concern. The government only recently refused to accept the Ombudsman's report regarding compensation, and the Chancellor appears to be the real obstacle to adopting a blueprint for pension reform based on a broad consensus around the Turner Report - with a decent state pension and an end to means testing".

"When even the independent Ombudsman says the government had provided information that was 'inaccurate, incomplete, unclear and inconsistent' on pensions you know they really are in trouble. The Chancellor seems to be distracted by the prospects of a potential new job rather than concentrating on his current responsibilities" concluded Mr Hunter.

What would you like to do next?