Ritchie welcomes scrap of fuel duty increase
SDLP South Down MP Margaret Ritchie has spoken following the Chancellors Autumn Statement in the House of Commons.
Speaking to Newry Times, Ms Ritchie said: “On a day of little good news for the economy I welcome the scrapping of the increase in fuel duty. This will put money back in people’s pockets and hopefully spur growth in the local economy, particularly in rural areas.
“The SDLP have repeatedly called for this, including through my own parliamentary motion, and it is one of the few pieces of good news to emerge from a pretty dismal announcement. The Chancellor cannot escape the ‘growth’ forecast which is now predicted to be -0.1%, one of the worst in the G20.
“We need measures,” she continued, “that will encourage growth and create jobs, not prolong this period of austerity. Half way through his first term the UK Chancellor’s record is one of no growth, record youth unemployment and economic stagnation.
“Quite simply austerity isn’t working and it isn’t working for the people of the North of Ireland. The UK government is vilifying the poor and those on welfare as a smokescreen for this appalling economic record.
Ritchie added, “His plans will remove over £4bn from the welfare budget by uprating benefits by just 1% a year until 2015. This will place those who are most in need and vulnerable in the current economic climate in an even more precarious situation.
“Against this backdrop what confidence can we have in this government’s plans to rebalance the Northern Ireland economy and kick-start growth?”
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