Budget does not pass the 'Bevan test', claims Ed Miliband

Ed Miliband in the House of Commons

Ed Miliband in the House of Commons - Credit: Parliament Live

Shadow business secretary Ed Miliband said that he does not believe the Budget passes the “Bevan test”.

Speaking in the House of Commons the former Labour leader said: “120,000 people have died from Covid. Our way of life has been dramatically restricted. Our key workers have stepped up and put themselves in harm’s way for all of us. Businesses have shuttered to protect our health and have faced incredible strain.

“The British people have been nothing short of heroic. But while the crisis has revealed the best of our country, it has also laid bare the deep flaws in the way our institutions and economy are run.”

Miliband continued: “This chasm between the spirit of the British people and the reality of the way our country works demands from us that we face the Bevan question once again of how we transform our country, not just on jobs but on public services and on inequality too.

“This challenges us all, whatever party, to think bigger and more boldly, and of course it is hard in the dire circumstances we face coming out of this pandemic. The public finances are under strain, the economy will take time to recover.


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“But these circumstances are far less dire than Bevan and his colleagues faced after 1945 and they thought big about the kind of country we could be. They raised their sights in the face of adversity.

“I do not believe, while I would praise some of the measures taken by the chancellor, I do not believe that a fair-minded observer would say that the Budget passes the Bevan test.”

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Miliband also raised concerns around the allocation of funds to Rishi Sunak’s constituency ahead of other areas.

He told MPs: “I fear they haven’t learnt the lessons. You cannot grow the economy if you’re giving tax cuts with one hand but cutting the services communities and businesses rely on with the other.

“The issue is not just about resources, but who spends them and where they are spent. We are the most regionally unequal country of any major developed economy and the most centralised. The levelling-up fund is a centralised pot of money to be determined by ministers.

“We’re starting to discover where the money is actually going. Salford is the 18th most deprived area in the country, but not placed in the category of most need, category one, but in category two. Barnsley is the 38th most deprived area and is also in category two.

“Richmond is 256th out of 317th for deprivation, it happens to cover the Chancellor’s constituency, so found its way into category one. The government has said it is based on objective criteria, so what are they?”

He added: “If it’s all above board, why haven’t they published the criteria?”

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