Chancellor slammed over 'glaring omissions' in Budget

A Black Country Labour MP has slammed the Chancellor for failing to address key issues including HS2 and the environment in his Budget speech.

Walsall South MP Valerie Vaz has questioned why key issues were missed out of the Chancellor's Budget
Walsall South MP Valerie Vaz has questioned why key issues were missed out of the Chancellor's Budget

Valerie Vaz said there were a number of "glaring omissions" in the autumn spending review as she accused ministers of hitting working families in the pocket.

The Walsall South MP and former Shadow Leader of the House, said ahead of the COP26 summit it was "alarming" there was nothing in the Budget on climate change or green jobs.

She also questioned why issues around HS2 and police funding had not been addressed, and said families would be "hurt" by rising taxes.

It comes after rail industry bosses raised concerns that the long-delayed Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) – which will outline how HS2 will link with other routes – had not featured in the Budget, while Friends of the Earth said it contained more about beer than the climate.

Ahead of the announcement West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster had called for more cash to plug a budget black hole that could hit £60 million in five years.

Rishi Sunak holds his 'Red Box' outside 11 Downing Street before delivering his Budget to the Commons

Ms Vaz said: "There were glaring omissions. It is alarming that three days ahead of COP26, there was nothing in the Budget on climate change or green jobs, for example, homeowners are left to face the costs of insulation on their own.

"There was nothing for the police and no mention of HS2.

"The Budget confirms that taxes will reach their highest level in over seventy years, the highest tax burden in peacetime.

"It appears that taxes will be £3,000 more per household than when Boris Johnson became Prime Minister. This is staggering and hurts working families."

Railway Industry Association (RIA) boss Darren Caplan said the Budget was a "missed opportunity to unleash the potential of the railways in helping the country to build back better".

"We still don’t know what is in the Integrated Rail Plan for the Midlands and the North," he added.

"We still have uncertainty over major projects, such as HS2 eastern leg, Northern Powerhouse Rail and Midlands Rail Hub, and we still await an update of the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline, more than two years since it was last published."

The Department for Transport insists the IRP will be released "soon".

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said his Budget would deliver a "stronger economy" for people in the West Midlands, and would help working families "meet the cost of living".

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