Responding to the Budget UKIP Economy Spokesman Mark Reckless AM said:
“The Conservatives have today lost any claim they may have had to represent either White Van Man or the many women who create businesses as a route to combining a continuing economic contribution with family life.
“In this Budget, Philip Hammond has launched an unnecessary and foolish attack on enterprise. To claim to be making life better for the employed by making life worse for the self-employed is the worst kind of levelling down. It is an approach more befitting of big state socialism than of a party that claims to understand wealth creation.
“Self-employed people create their own jobs. They have no paid holidays, sickness benefits or company pension schemes and in fact no guaranteed income at all.
“They show guts and determination. And like the rest of the electorate they were promised that the Tories would not be whacking up national insurance rates in this parliament. In their case it is going to be a promise broken.”
Mr Reckless added: “The growth and borrowing projections announced in today’s Budget show that the Brexit vote of last June has had no negative impact on the economy and that the dire forecasts of George Osborne were merely a cynical political scare tactic.
“Philip Hammond is right to talk up the prospects of the British economy in the years ahead, rather than irresponsibly talking them down as his predecessor did in the run-up to the referendum.
“UKIP has always argued that the British economy will flourish outside the EU – as we regain the power to agree our own free trade deals and remove ourselves from future waves of Brussels red tape.
“Our relatively buoyant economy is an early sign that the British people were right to disbelieve the merchants of doom.
“That the Chancellor now has some financial wiggle room due to better than expected tax receipts and lower unemployment is reassuring in advance of the Government’s negotiations to exit the EU.
“Mr Hammond is right not to spend this initial Brexit bonus. Our national debt is alarmingly large and while the deficit is lower than previously expected that debt is still growing.
“In fact the Government should be making significant savings from bloated spending areas. UKIP for example would look to cut foreign aid spending by £10 billion a year, scrap the wasteful HS2 project and rebalance the Barnett Formula so resources reflect real needs.
“With some of those savings we could afford to remove VAT from domestic energy, hot takeaway food and female sanitary products as soon as Britain is out of the EU. We could also avoid clobbering the self-employed with extra National Insurance as the Chancellor does today. We need to help hard-pressed people with the cost of living, not clobber the self-employed.”
UKIP’s energy spokesman Roger Helmer has spoken out against the latest EU energy policies.
The party’s MEP for the East Midlands spoke in an plenary session in Brussels last week on the EU’s objectives for ‘secure, affordable and sustainable energy.’
He said: “For many years the EU has followed policies which directly militate against those objectives.
“Germany, with the largest renewables investment, now uses increasing volumes of lignite. In the UK, we are planning to use diesel generation as back-up.”
Mr Helmer quoted a front page story from The Economist magazine, ‘Clean Energy’s Dirty Secret.’
He said: “It says we have created regulatory and subsidy structures which militate against energy infrastructure investment, and threaten security of supply.
“Yet the EU’s latest proposal amounts to little more than bureaucratic paper-pushing.”
His comments follow reports this week on the House of Lords report into the energy policies of the past three Governments.
The report criticises the open-ended nature of renewables subsidies.
Mr Helmer said: “Hard-working families, and indeed industry, is hit by the the costs of renewables and the EU and successive Government’s obsession with them.
“The cost of this obsession with weather-dependent energy is plunging us into an energy crisis.
“As reports say, it doesn’t matter how many extra renewables we subsidise, the wind won’t blow harder, nor the sun shine more – and that extra cost burden is carried by ordinary families and businesses up and down the land.”