Today is budget day. Over recent months I have raised a number of issues with the Chancellor and where relevant other Ministers, including the Transport Secretary and CLG Secretary.
We won’t know the detail until it is delivered in the House, and indeed as is often the case, until some time afterwards when full information is published. However, my 5 tests for the budget are as follows;
1. Does it deliver fairness for our area and our region – by properly closing the spending gap in infrastructure, R&D and transport whilst investing in local services such as the Mid Cheshire line, not just City to City Links?
2. Does it offer fairness for all public sector workers in Weaver Vale by lifting the pay cap across the board, and offering real pay rises not just a “pat on the back” whilst investing properly in these vital services?
3. Will it recognise that this government’s approach on Universal Credit is not fit for purpose, and pause and fix it?
4. Will it deliver the new homes we need, whilst tackling issues such as the leasehold scandal and its effect on existing homeowners?
5. Will it offer fairness for taxpayers and small businesses in Weaver Vale, who pay what they owe and play by the rules whilst watching some of the richest and the biggest corporations avoid their responsibilities?
I’ll be watching closely to see whether these calls have been heeded. On the basis of what we know so far, whatever is announced is likely to be too little too late and won’t reverse the damage done to our area by 7 years of cuts and austerity. I’ll be demanding that our area gets its fair share and that the issues that matter here are addressed.