Responding to today's Budget, Dr. Wanda Wyporska, Executive Director of The Equality Trust, said:
"This Budget was not only a wasted opportunity, it was a giant leap backwards. Planned cuts to taxes for the richest, and continued swingeing cuts to social security went unaddressed, and will widen the gap between the haves and have nots. That's hardly fulfilling the Prime Minister's promise of an economy for us all.
"Changes to National Insurance for the self-employed, and reductions to the tax-free dividend allowance, are progressive and welcome. However a continued commitment to increase the personal allowance will be a boon for the better-off, providing no support at all for the poorest. The support for further selective education is wasteful and counterproductive, and will neither advance social mobility nor deliver greater equality.
"Healthcare remains in crisis, and there are huge and growing health inequalities between the richest and poorest. The Government's current sticking plaster approach simply won't work.
"Inequality is expected to widen to record levels, and a wealth of evidence shows the damaging effects this has on our health, education and our economy. We need a far more ambitious approach from Government to support those who are 'just about managing.' That means a radical overhaul of our tax system so that the burden is shifted from the poorest families, with a social security system that allows them to keep more of the money they earn. This Budget, sadly, fails to deliver this."