Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting WN NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
MP: Cuts must not run too deep
2:40pm Tuesday 9th October 2012 in News
SLASHING the welfare budget should not mean the destruction of the social safety net which helps people in tough times, says Worcester’s MP.
The man in charge of the country’s purse strings, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne had few surprises up his sleeve as he addressed Conservative delegates at the party conference in Birmingham yesterday.
Much of his speech had already been leaked as he confirmed an extra £10 billion cut from the welfare budget from the start of the next Parliament in 2015.
Worcester MP Robin Walker agreed there was “plenty more scope for efficiency” in the benefits budget, but cautioned the Government on going too far.
“You’ve got to strike the right balance,” he said.
“We need to make sure we strengthen the arms of the welfare state which protect people in tough times – so we shouldn’t go too far in our cuts.”
Mr Osborne also ruled out a ‘mansion tax’ on high-value homes, a wealth tax on high earners, and he promised a continuing crackdown of tax avoidance.
He also confirmed a freeze in council tax, almost certainly confirming more pain for town hall budget-setters.
But there was praise from Mr Walker for Mr Osborne’s announcement of £1 billion for hi-tech industries, and his support for new markets in Asia and China for British exports.
Mr Walker, who is about to start a week-long trip to China drumming up trade for Worcestershire firms and the city’s university, said county businesses had to start looking east.
He said: “That is where the biggest opportunities for growth are.”
He is part of small trade delegation which includes the University of Worcester, the Worcestershire Ambassadors business and public policy group and county firms joining the Worcestershire Chinese Association.
“Hopefully, we can go out there and raise the profile of Worcestershire as a place where they can do business,” he said.
The trip, which includes a visit to Guangzhou in Guang-dong province, is at no cost to the taxpayer, he said.