Autumn Statement confirms Southampton is paying the price for Tory gamble

George Osborne’s austerity experiment has choked off economic growth, and families in Southampton are paying the price, Southampton’s MPs said today.

Forecast growth has fallen from 2.3% to just 0.9% – a virtual flatline – the result of the depth and speed of deficit reduction followed by the Tory-Lib Dem Government.  In a humiliating u-turn, the Government is also scheduled to borrow £158 billion more than planned.

John Denham, Labour MP for Southampton Itchen, said:

“People in Southampton have been betrayed by the failure of the Tory-led government’s gamble.  There are now 733 young people unemployed in my own constituency – that’s over a 30% increase from this time last year. And in all there’s 2,565 claiming Jobseekers Allowance.  

“Prices are rising by 5%, making life harder for families, and too many children are being forced to live in poverty by this Government.  And now George Osborne and this Tory-led Government which said it would cut borrowing is now increasing it.  

“Southampton has felt the pain but it’s not working”.

John Denham also slammed the Government for leaving the Port of Southampton out of the new National Infrastructure Plan.  He said “the plan commits the Government to supporting the rival Thames Gateway but says nothing about Southampton’s plan to invest £150m in the new container terminal – a project which is currently held up in bureaucratic Whitehall delays”

Alan Whitehead, close colleague of John Denham and the Labour MP for Southampton Test, said:

“Today is a disaster for Mr Osborne, but it’s families and children in Southampton who are paying the price.  Having spent much of the last year cutting vital help for the economy and small businesses, the Government has now belatedly decided to effectively reinstate programme after programme, from capital spending to youth unemployment.  But there’s a real danger that these measures are too little, too late.

“In addition to the terrible growth figures, there are some really worrying figures relating to a forecast increase of 100,000 more children forced into poverty over the next year.  The Government promised they would not allow child poverty to rise as a result of their austerity measures and we’ll be pressing them very hard to make sure they keep their promise.”

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