Ilford Recorder Column 2 December 2010

Much recent attention has been given to the savage cuts to public spending being introduced by the  Conservative /Liberal democrat coalition government.  Cuts  to housing benefit and  abolition of educational maintenance allowances  discriminate against the poorest and most vulnerable in our society, while abolition of financial support for most university courses and raising tuition fees  to  £9000 a year hits the middle class family most. What is less well known is the coalition discrimination against London in its taxation and spending policies.  Last week we debated  the Second Reading of the  National Insurance Contributions Bill.  In my speech I pointed out that on the basis of International Labour Organisation measures of unemployment, the highest rates of unemployment are in London, the north-east and Yorkshire and the Humber.   However, although the north-east and Yorkshire and the Humber are to benefit from the National insurance tax holiday for new businesses, London together with the South and East of England is entirely excluded. As I said “ a number of boroughs and constituencies in London have very high levels of deprivation and unemployment. My borough, the London borough of Redbridge, does not feature as one of the most deprived boroughs overall, but there are wards within it, including three in my constituency, that are in the lowest decile for deprivation and need.”  The Federation of Small Businesses says  the regional discrimination involved in these proposals is based on a crude assessment which  does not account for areas within these regions that would really benefit from policies that would help bolster employment. I concluded my speech “These changes discriminate against Londoners, against small businesses in London and against ethnic minority businesses in London……..the essence of the proposal, we are told, is that we are all in this together but, sadly, it is yet another example of where we are not…because we are not all getting the assistance to deal with the problems that the Government will create when they slash the public sector.”


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