Commenting on today’s Spring Statement given by the Chancellor Philip Hammond, East of England Labour MEP Alex Mayer said:
“It was short but not sweet. There was no light at the end of the tunnel for people facing the sharp end of austerity, it is just full steam ahead on cuts for the poorest, while our public services are at breaking point and many of our local councils are near bankruptcy. The Chancellor said, 'judge me by my record', and with our NHS on its knees, a teacher retention crisis and police officer numbers cut - that is exactly what people are doing."
Before the Brexit referendum Britain was the fastest growing economy in the G7, but now it trails behind the other 6 nations. The IMF is currently forecasting UK growth trailing that of Greece over the next five years at just 1.3% - a significant downgrade from their previous prediction of 1.7%, and also further downgraded growth forecasts for 2020 from 1.9% to 1.3%.
At the Autumn Budget the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) revised down growth prospects even further, to 1.3% in 2019, down from previous expectations of 1.7%. The downgrade in 2020 was even larger, from 1.9% to 1.3%.
Ms Mayer continued: “Brexit is biting with UK growth now forecast to trail Greece’s over the next five years. Sadly I fear this is not Britain’s time in the sun, as we embark on a path that will leave us weaker, poorer and more isolated."