UK Politics

Budget 2014: Miliband criticises 'same old Tory tricks'

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Media captionLabour leader Ed Miliband: "The working people of Britain are worse off under the Tories"

Ed Miliband has said millions of people are worse off under the government, dismissing George Osborne's Budget as full of the "same old Tory tricks".

The Labour leader said the chancellor was "giving with one hand and taking far more with the other", claiming there had been 24 tax rises since 2010.

Chancellor George Osborne told MPs that the UK was now growing faster than any other major economy in the world.

Mr Miliband said it "painted a picture working people will not recognise".

In his speech, Mr Osborne said the UK economy was forecast to expand by 2.7% this year while the deficit would fall over the next five years, with a budget surplus by 2018-9.

He also announced a further rise in the personal allowance - the amount of income that is tax-free - to £10,500 and a raft of support for pensioners and savers, including abolishing the 10% basic tax rate on savings income.

'For the privileged'

But Mr Miliband said the Budget was a reflection of the "gap" between the chancellor's "rhetoric" and the reality facing million of families across the UK.

The majority of people were, on average, £1,600 worse off each year since 2010, he said, due to the rise in VAT and other taxes and an extra million people now finding themselves paying tax at the 40% higher rate.

"The chancellor spoke for nearly an hour but he did not mention one central fact - the working people of Britain are worse off under the Tories," he told MPs.

"This is the Budget which confirms people are worse off under the Tories," he added. "A worse off Budget from an out of touch chancellor."

He contrasted last year's decision to cut the top rate of tax for those earning more than £150,000 with the proposed 1% pay rise for many public sector workers, saying this illustrated that the government was "by the privileged, for the privileged".

"It is more tax cuts for the rich while everyone else gets squeezed."

Referring to the plans to replace the £1 coin announced on Wednesday, he said. "You can change the shape of the pound but it doesn't matter if the pound is square, round or oval - if you're £1,600 worse off, you're still £1,600 a year worse off."

A Labour government would build 200,000 homes a year, freeze energy bills, guarantee jobs for the unemployed and reverse housing benefit cuts, he added.

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