Workers in north Northumberland face a tough future as a result of the Conservative Budget, says Northumbrian Lib Dem Julie Pörksen.
Following the first Conservative budget in 19 years, the Liberal Democrats have criticised the unfairness of the measures and the excessive burden being placed on young people. The Budget included a reduction in tax credits for working people and a public-sector pay cap of one per cent a year for the next four years.
Julie Pörksen, who stood for the Berwick seat at the General Election, said: “Local workers will face tough times ahead due to reductions in tax credits and the public-sector pay cap of one per cent. Many working families need tax credits to make ends meet, reducing tax credits will only cause hardship for the most low-paid and tax credits should not be cut where workers are earning too little to live. These actions will mean its much less worth working so will not reduce unemployment.
“I am concerned about the well-being of public-sector workers, they must be fairly compensated for the work done. The staff recruitment and retention crisis in essential services such as the ambulance service will only be made worse by this action – putting our public services at risk.
“The Budget cut support for young people who are studying, working, or seek working by cutting maintenance grants for the poorest students, axing housing benefit for under 21s and excluding under 25s from increases in the minimum wage. I have met so many young people in Northumberland who already find it both difficult and costly to study with school bus charges starting at 16, get a job and commute, and rent a home, the budget is too harsh for them.
“I believe we should be supporting both young people and the low paid and they shouldn’t be treated unfairly and carry the burden of the Conservatives cuts.”
Last week, the Conservative MP for Berwick, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, welcomed the Budget, highlighting the introduction of the ‘national living wage’, an increase in the personal tax-free allowance and measures for businesses.