Meg Hillier has joined her fellow Hackney MP Diane Abbott in criticising George Osborne’s Budget.
Speaking in the Commons shortly after the chancellor, Ms Hillier added her concerns about the Budget’s impact on Hackney to those raised by Diane Abbott exclusively to Hackney Post this afternoon.
“I bet there is more hidden pain for many of my constituents in the depths of this Budget,” she said.
The government’s plans for education were among Ms Hillier’s major worries.
“In my borough of Hackney we’re no stranger to academies.
“When these were first unveiled Hackney schools were among the worst in the country.
“I pay tribute to the Mayor of Hackney, Jules Pipe who took what was on offer from the government and turned it into something that would achieve the ambitions of young people in Hackney.
“With the huge work by Hackney heads and teachers we see now our schools among the very best in the country.
“But in spite of our embracing of academies among other school models, academies are no simple solution.
“The structure is not what makes the education good. We need good teaching, good leadership, that’s what get results.
“The constant change we’ve seen in schools recently”, she added “means we’re just causing more upheaval.
“The loss of the national funding review is important, but we must not cut funding to London schools and London pupils or those schools will fall back – we have seen success and that must not be jeopardised.
Doesn’t pay to be poor
Ms Hillier was especially scathing about the government’s record on poverty.
“I would say under this government it does not pay to be poor.
“I represent one of the most divided local authorities in the country with some great wealth but a very high level of poverty.
“[The] job growth that the chancellor talked about is in reality far too much low-wage, part-time work which is just not enough to live on in our borough where average house prices are £500,000 [and] rents in the private sector are soaring through the roof”.
“Thanks to government policy, even housing in the social sector is going to be out of the reach of many with the imposition of pay to stay, the bedroom tax for households and especially where they have no financial resilience, and uncertain work patterns which means they’ll be in and out of claiming housing benefit.
“We see an issue there with childcare, with many of my local childminders finding it is not affordable to provide the places the government is requiring them to on the money that the government is being paid.
“So even when the government says it’s helping, it is not helping for many, many households in my borough.”
“The rung of the ladder for people at the bottom who are aspirant – and they are aspirant in Hackney – is being knocked out. It’s harder to get on in life thanks to this government. This government must start ruling for the whole nation. It’s a tale of two nations and this Budget simply underlines that.”
Featured image credit: David Knowles