The Chancellor delivered his Spring Budget today (6 March) in what is likely to be the final budget before the next General Election.

This is a disappointing budget that underlines the last 14 years. Even after the measures announced, households will still be £870 worse off on average. The tax burden is still the highest since the Second World War and more and more people are being pulled into higher tax through frozen bands. The economy has been dragged into recession and the Government is balancing the books by taxing hard-working people.

The independent Office for Budget Responsibility confirmed today that this will be the worst Parliament on record for living standards, being the first Parliament  on record where living standards have fallen. In North Durham, 24.7% of children live in relative poverty. Across the North East, real median earnings were 7% lower last year compared to 2008. Taxes are still rising, prices are still going up in the shops and mortgages are higher; nothing in the budget today changes that.

The Government also failed to commit any new money in this budget for Horizon or infected blood victims. I believe this is disgraceful can-kicking by Ministers and a missed opportunity.