Much of the lead up to the Budget became a debate about how much headroom the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, had for pre-election giveaways. Yet it became more an exercise in managing the warring factions within the Conservative Party. The result was a Budget that looked inwards rather than addressing the deep and wide-ranging challenges facing the country.

Ironically, Conservative backbench MPs had been baying for tax cuts, despite having repeatedly voting to raise the tax burden to its highest level in 70 years. The Chancellor looked to placate them by shaving a couple of pennies off National Insurance and freezing fuel tax. A finger in the air, £46 billion a year commitment to abolishing national insurance then followed – have the Conservatives still not learnt anything from they last made wild, unfunded pledges under Liz Truss?

However, if this Budget was the height of the Conservatives’ ambition and competence, then the Party is in serious trouble. This was an articulation of lines on a spreadsheet, rather than a vision, and the self-congratulations on show will have been jarring to those struggling to make ends meet. The Chancellor proclaiming to fix the economic problems caused by his own Party was, at times, beyond parody.

There had been some speculation that the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, would call a General Election if the Conservatives received a bounce in the polls. As we head closer to a General Election, the polls are expected to narrow, but this was a limp affair, hardly a catalyst for a political recovery.

The contrast with the Labour Party is quite stark. Last week, I hosted a Business Leaders’ event in Ipswich with Rachel Reeves, the Shadow Chancellor our special guest. It was striking how at ease and confident Rachel was, as she spent more than an hour meeting a whole range of business and community leaders from across the region. This is someone who is laser focused on bringing back stability to our economy, but also absolutely determined to push through the reforms needed to kick start investment and growth again.

If Labour win at the General Election and enter government, we will inherit the worst set of economic circumstances since the Second World War, but we will not repeat the Conservative sticking plaster approach. Implementing our long-term plan to rebuild family finances and get our economy moving again is not simply a choice, it is imperative.

Much like Rishi Sunak’s multiple resets, the Budget will fail to ‘shift the dial’. No rabbits were pulled out of the hat, but even if they were, the Conservative ‘brand’ is fundamentally bust – they are not fooling anyone anymore. The OBR has confirmed that this will be the worst Parliament on record for living standards. Real pay has gone up by just £17 a week over nearly 14 years of Conservative government. This is Rishi’s recession, and a Conservative cost-of-living crisis. People are really hurting, the business environment is as difficult as it has ever been, and our public services are on their knees.

After this forgettable Budget, all eyes are now on when a General Election will be called. While a Labour victory is by no means guaranteed, we do not fear this iteration of the Conservative Party which has run out of ideas and energy.

People in Ipswich and Suffolk want and deserve stability and hope after years of chaos. That is what they will get from me locally as Ipswich’s MP, Rachel Reeves as Chancellor, Keir Starmer as Prime Minister, and the Labour Party in government.

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