Alan Whitehead

Labour MP for Southampton Test

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Worrying Economic Mismanagement: My response to the Autumn Statement

The Chancellor has promised support for working families struggling under the weight of in work benefits but in some cases they will get only £150 back after initial cuts of £2500. This will do nothing to help working families in Southampton struggling to make ends meet in minimum wage jobs. 

As the cost of living continues to rise after the referendum result the increase in minimum wage barely scratches the surface of what is needed to actually live day to day and it does nothing to address the needs of low paid workers under 25.

These measures also do nothing to disguise the fact that overall the economy has stagnated which will hit my constituents in Southampton hard in the coming months and years.  The policies announced today are designed to temporarily mask what is a continuing mismanagement of our economy and a chaotic approach to Brexit and I doubt whether they will even do that.  The numbers on growth, productivity and the deficit announced today were incredibly worrying.  

I welcome the government’s u-turn on their policy of not borrowing to invest as this is necessary to guide us out of the current downturn we are facing. However the investment level announced today is woefully short of what we need to ensure the security of much needed infrastructure and jobs.  

There are however some highlights in an otherwise worrying budget. I welcome the ban on letting agent fees as this is something that I, along with Labour colleagues, have been campaigning for since it appeared in our 2015 manifesto. I’m glad the Chancellor has heard our concerns and taken action.

I also welcome the £1.6 million investment to the Guildhall arts quarter in Southampton. The arts quarter will bring an added boost to our city whose regeneration is going from strength to strength under the stewardship of the Labour led Southampton City Council.   

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