Bristol South MP Karin Smyth responds to 2017 Autumn Budget

Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond today (Nov 22) revealed his Autumn Budget 2017.
He spoke of a ‘costed and inclusive’ budget with talk of building homes and ‘helping families to cope with the cost of living’ before announcing investment priorities which included funding for research and development for driverless cars.
Bristol South MP Karin Smyth says the budget does little to help the thousands of Bristol South residents in low-paid jobs who are struggling to make ends meet or find a new home.
Speaking after the Budget was revealed in the House of Commons, Karin said: “Bristol South desperately needs more affordable housing and I want to see this teamed up with a new construction centre attached to the local college to provide decent job prospects for local people.
“I’ve long been a supporter of apprenticeships here in Bristol South and was disappointed to see little more than a passing mention on apprenticeships. This, despite a 61% drop in numbers since the levy was announced and despite high drop-out rates among apprentices who are struggling to cope with living and transport costs. More needs to be done to address this.
“The Chancellor claimed that ‘work always pays’ but this is simply not the case. On paper, unemployment may be low here in Bristol South but this does not mean that people are better off. Many jobs remain insecure, temporary and poorly paid and with rents remaining prohibitively high and house price inflation at 14% in Bristol South, owning your own home remains is more than a dream for most.”
Last month, Karin and her fellow Bristol MPs called for a halt to the roll out of Universal Credit until the core problems could be addressed.
“Reducing the length of the wait for Universal Credit puts a sticking plaster on the problem but it doesn’t go far enough” said Karin. Many applicants or those low-earning self-employed workers will be hundreds of pounds a year worse off with Universal Credit. This will hit working mums particularly hard. One in four children is already living in poverty in Bristol South and Universal Credit will undoubtedly see this figure rise. Karin will be continuing her work on boosting apprenticeships in South Bristol, pushing for a halt on Universal Credit until the core problems can be addressed and fighting for affordable housing and rents for residents.