Following the Chancellor’s speech, Julie said:
“I am pleased that the Chancellor has bowed to Labour pressure and performed a u-turn on tax credits. It will come as a relief to thousands of hard working people in Sunderland who were braced for cuts of up to £1700 a year.
I also welcome the decision, which Labour had been calling for, to protect police funding and numbers. We should not be taking a gamble with public safety in these unpredictable times.
However, there is much in this Autumn Statement that will deeply concern people in Sunderland. On the deficit, borrowing will be higher in the next three years than the Chancellor previously predicted. At every stage he has missed his own deficit targets, and in doing so has placed a greater debt burden on future generations.
On the NHS, the decision to replace nurses’ student grants with loans will have an impact on nurse numbers and morale, whilst in education spending on each school pupil will fall in real terms.
Finally, it is now clear that the more the Chancellor mentions the Northern Powerhouse, the less he has to say about it. The North East, the only region to consistently produce a trade surplus, should be leading our economic recovery, but these plans for our region won’t get off the ground in the face of enormous cuts at departments including Transport and Business, as well as the deep cuts to local authorities.”