Reproduced from an article featured on the Brent & Kilburn Times website, click here to view.
The leader of Brent Council has labelled George Osborne’s Budget for the year as “out of touch” with the most vulnerable members of society.
At the heart of The Budget are new tax and savings reforms, which sees an increase in income tax threshold by £500 to £10,500, and the merger of cash and shares individual saving accounts (Isa) into a single new Isa, which increases the amount of money that can be saved tax-free to £15,000.
Cllr Muhammed Butt claims these measures do not go far enough to the better the standard of living of borough residents.
He added: “My residents are struggling to makes ends meet let alone make savings.
“People living within Brent are facing tough times and are even struggling to feed themselves because of inflated transport costs and higher gas and electricity prices. These are the areas the government should be tackling.”
The Chancellor of the Exchequer also announced a welfare cap of nearly £119 billion for 2015-16 in a bid to stop expenditure on the sector from spiralling out of control.
“Brent is the worst effected borough from the government cuts and the cap on welfare does little to protect our most vulnerable residents from starving and living without heat.”
The Budget sets out policy that encourages people to lead healthier lifestyles, including a two per cent increase in tobacco duty and a rise on fixed odds betting terminals in gambling shops by 25 per cent.
The councillor, who also represents the Tokyngton ward, accused the government of sending out mix messages, following cuts on beer duty by one per cent and a freeze to duty on whisky and ordinary cider.
He added: “They have told us time and time again to lead a healthy lifestyle by drinking less and being more active, but now they have said we will make it cheaper for you to buy beer.”
“It sends out the completely wrong message to those living in Brent who are addicted to alcohol. As always, we are committed to helping those affected through their problems.”