COLUMN: The budget that abandoned North Devon

8 Mar 2024
Ian Roome at Ilfracombe Watersports

Last week’s budget highlighted just how poorly North Devon is being treated by this Conservative Government.

Once again pleas for levelling up funding for Ilfracombe were ignored, pensioners will be hit by a stealth tax and the cut in National Insurance will barely touch the sides for families struggling with sky high mortgages and expensive weekly shops.

North Devon Council and myself have sent multiple letters to the area’s MP and the Government pleading for levelling up funding for Ilfracombe, one of the most deprived areas in the country.

Despite our efforts Ilfracombe was ignored in favour of Canary Wharf, one of the UK’s richest areas, which received £242 million.

17,027 North Devon pensioners are set to be hit with a £17,027,202 stealth tax after the Budget, new analysis by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

Research by the Resolution Foundation think tank has found pensioners are set to lose out from last week's Budget.

This is due to the Conservative government's decision to freeze income tax thresholds, which will lead to a £8 billion tax bombshell for pensioners across the country by 2027-28, or an average of £1,000 each.

Further analysis suggests this will impact on the estimated 17,027 pensioners in North Devon who pay income tax.

The Conservative Party has abandoned pensioners who are already struggling to pay the bills.

The Liberal Democrats were the first party to commit in full to the triple lock for the upcoming election, which ensures pensions will see an increase by whichever is highest of average earnings growth, CPI inflation, or 2.5%.

We have called on the government to double the Winter Fuel Allowance to offer extra help to pensioners, paid for by a proper windfall tax on oil and gas companies.

Pensioners who have worked hard and paid taxes all their lives are now being punished by this Conservative government with a £1,000 stealth tax.

Many elderly people are already struggling to make ends meet as heating bills and the cost of the weekly shop go through the roof. Now these Conservative tax hikes will only pile on the misery.

The Liberal Democrats are proud of our record of introducing the triple lock to protect people's pensions. We will stand up for the pensioners in our community who have been cruelly abandoned by the Conservatives, including by calling on the Government to double the Winter Fuel Allowance.