LAST week saw the Chancellor deliver the 2017 Budget, and to summarise – growth is down, debt is up, inflation is up, business investment is down, barely a mention of Wales, and billions are being put aside to pay for a reckless no-deal Brexit.

We needed the Chancellor to indicate an end to austerity, but this was a ‘nothing has changed’ Budget from an out-of-touch Government with no idea of the reality of people’s lives and no plan to improve them.

It confirmed that we are worse off under the Tories – real wages are lower than they were in 2010 and there’s a further hit to living standards with disposable income set to fall in 2017.

Economic growth is the lowest it has been since the Tories came to office and the Budget confirms that failure, with growth revised down in every year of the forecast.

The National Living Wage has been revised down again, meaning it won’t hit the £9 per hour the Tories promised. In March, it was projected to be £8.75, now it has been cut again to £8.56.

Productivity has been revised down every year while business investment has been revised down next year and each year following.

The Government’s botched roll-out of Universal Credit is causing real suffering. Rather than the pause we need, the Chancellor offered help which is only a fraction of the £3bn a year cuts they have made to the scheme.

Those at the top are given tax breaks while a record 7.4 million people in working households are in poverty.

Austerity has failed and this ‘nothing has changed’ Budget has revealed the Tories have no plan to deal with the issues facing Britain. Labour would take a different approach and build an economy for the many, not the few.

We would:

l Scrap the public sector pay cap for the whole of the public sector; pause and fix the Universal Credit roll-out; and introduce a real living wage of at least £10 an hour.

l Bring forward investment in infrastructure across every region and nation to create high-wage, high-productivity jobs.

l Tackle debt by introducing further restrictions on high-interest, short-term lending.

l Reduce inequality by reversing planned tax giveaways for the super-rich like Capital Gains Tax reductions and planned cuts to Corporation Tax; and properly clamp down on tax avoidance including in British tax havens.

l Reject the Conservatives’ deregulated ‘no deal’ race-to-the-bottom Brexit.