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Newham MPs criticise 'sham' budget and government's 'failure' to help people

PUBLISHED: 18:30 08 March 2017 | UPDATED: 18:30 08 March 2017

Lyn Brown and Stephen Timms

Lyn Brown and Stephen Timms

Archant

Lyn Brown and Stephen Timms have slammed the chancellor's budget saying people in Newham will suffer as a result.

West Ham MP Lyn Brown asserted that the government was failing to provide a proper National Living Wage, despite Philip Hammond’s announcement that it is set to rise from £7.20 to £7.50 an hour in April.

She said: “It’s a sham. It is not nearly enough to live on in Newham, where pay is lower than the national average and much, much lower than London overall.”

The home office and policing shadow minister also labelled the government’s hike on National Insurance rates for the self-employed as “shameless and desperate”.

Philip Hammond said Class 4 National Insurance contributions will go up by 1 per cent to 10pc and by a further 1pc in April 2019.

East Ham MP Stephen Timms also had sharp words about the budget, saying it “underlined the utter complacency of this government”.

He said: “It did little to address the problems created by seven years of Tory failure and increased taxes on those self-employed who are on low and middle incomes.

“I have been in touch with the Federation of Small Businesses who estimate this could affect around 10,600 people in East Ham alone.”

While the chair of Newham Chamber of Commerce also expressed concerns for the self-employed, he cautiously welcomed a relief package of £435m for small businesses.

The figure includes a £300m fund for discretionary relief for local authorities, plus £1,000 discount on business rates for 90pc of pubs and a £50 a month bill increase cap for businesses exiting the small business rate relief.

Lloyd Johnson said: “We need to see what that consultation looks like. Who is he [Philip Hammond] planning to consult?

“Will he be asking chambers, councils, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as well as larger businesses?”

Meanwhile, the chancellor also announced an extra £500million for vocational and technical education in England and a one-off £320million for 140 new schools in England – which could include grammars.

He also promised to extend free school transport to all achildren on free school meals who attend a selective school.

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