LETTER: Budget fails to meet challenges

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Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Spring Budget has utterly failed to address the challenges facing Lewes and the rest of the country today.

With our NHS and social care in crisis, and air pollution contributing to 40,000 lives prematurely ending in the UK each year, this budget should have been an emergency intervention. Instead, the Chancellor revealed the extent of the Government’s obsession with scaling back the state, while protecting the well-off.

This Budget was a chance for the Government to take a stand for public services like our precious Victoria Hospital in Lewes, which we all rely on. But the funding changes announced for the NHS and social care are woefully inadequate and instead of investing enough to make a real difference in our hospitals and care homes the Government is continuing to push ahead with planned corporation tax cuts and handouts to high earners.

The Chancellor also utterly failed to get a grip on the air pollution emergency currently facing the country. While the cost of motoring has dropped in recent years the residents of Lewes know only too well that the cost of public transport is rocketing, while its reliability plummets. We should have seen the fuel duty escalator unfrozen and the money ploughed into public transport – not more handouts for motoring and persistent neglect for cleaner, healthier forms of transport.

On top of this the Spring Budget followed the trend set by Hammond’s Autumn Statement in failing to even mention climate change. Lewes residents desperately needed the Chancellor to announce real solutions to the problems facing us today – now it will be down to local communities, campaigners, residents and public sector workers to pick up the pieces for his utter failure to do so.

Cllr Susan Murray, Green Party, Castle ward

Clare Road, Lewes