Over the last year, families in Southwark and across the UK have lost loved ones. We have the highest excess death rate, at over 120,000 people. We have also seen the worst damage to any major economy, in part due to delays to Government decisions and bungling Ministers bunging mates contracts they couldn’t deliver.
Today’s Budget was a chance to fix the problems and face the future, including the growing unemployment crisis. The number of people on Universal Credit in Bermondsey and Old Southwark has doubled in the last year but today the Chancellor announced he would cut the help it provides in September. Awful news for thousands of local families struggling to make ends meet.
Youth unemployment locally has tripled in a year but no plan to provide more help came through today. I am proud of Labour Southwark Council making up for this absence of help with its ‘Next Steps’ scheme for young people in our borough.
Today was a missed opportunity to set a new course for our economy and ensure we rebuild quickly and better. There will be very tough times ahead for too many people in our community. That this was avoidable, like some of the deaths and economic damage in the last year, must not be forgotten.