Nick Smith MP has branded the Tories’ record a failure after their final budget failed to help hardworking families.

The Blaenau Gwent MP gave a speech today in Parliament in the wake of the budget, criticising the Government’s attempts to rebrand their austerity measures as a success for everyone.

In the speech, he bashed the “empty claims that things are getting better” while praising the borough successes that have happened despite the actions of the Government.

Speaking after the debate, Mr Smith said “My constituents are wondering where all this improvement the Tories are trumpeting is coming from.

“Families are £1,600 worse off and many of the jobs that did replace those that were lost are low paying or exploitative zero-hours contracts.

“I want a better future for Blaenau Gwent. The Government can crow all they want, but they are further away than ever for making that happen. Their record has been one of failure.”

The full speech is as follows:

Mr Deputy Speaker, the Chancellor tells us we’ve never had it so good. We know in Blaenau Gwent that’s a long way from the truth.

The only growth we have seen under the Tories have been food banks, pay day loans and charity shops.

• More than 900,000 people used food banks last year nationwide
• In my constituency of Blaenau Gwent, payday loan company Wonga loaned more than £1m in one year
• Our valleys towns have become run down with no sign of the trend reversing
Mr Deputy Speaker, my constituents don’t need empty claims that things are getting better.

Blaenau Gwent needs jobs.

There have been some fantastic examples of good projects in recent years in the borough to boost our economy.

But George Osborne doesn’t deserve a shred of credit for the improvements that have occurred where the Tories failed.

Our housing association Tai Calon have invested over £100m after the deal they did with local banks to improve the quality of their homes.

Thousands of residents now have better kitchens and improved insulation.

The Welsh Labour Government, backed by European money, has improved and continues to improve our transport links.

Road and rail are the arteries of any healthy economy.

The Heads of the Valleys road improvements will allow commuters to get to the jobs they need and businesses to bring their jobs to Blaenau Gwent.

It will also allow access to the Circuit of Wales project.

Pleas to get the Conservative Government to back this project have fallen on deaf ears.

In contrast, the Welsh Labour Government have provided important seed core money.

Let’s hope the developers can now raise the £300m needed to bring this venture to Blaenau Gwent.

Mr Deputy Speaker, while we have not been cash-rich, with the Tories ensuring their economic recovery passes us by, we are a borough rich in culture.

Our brass bands and choirs have produced great talents that are still picking up national awards and acclaim to this day.

It’s obvious when we have given our youngsters a culture of success, they produce time and time again.

The future of Blaenau Gwent is not just about celebrating our beautiful landscape, though we have plenty of that, but also making sure these young talents are realised.

The Circuit of Wales could bring thousands of jobs to the area, which is why we need to produce the workforce to match.

The Labour-led council have improved the bricks and mortar of our schools, so now it is up to the professionals to deliver.

That’s why I’m proud of Labour policies such as the Jobs Guarantee Scheme.

18-24 year olds who have been out of a job for a year will be offered a paying role for six months.

That is a massive deal and will make a big difference in places such as Blaenau Gwent, where 16.2% of youngsters are out of work.

George Osborne’s policies have passed Blaenau Gwent by.

We were the birthplace of the NHS, but the Chancellor found no time to discuss the extreme budget cuts that could put it at risk.

Tory tax changes like the VAT rise have left families poorer than when they came to power.

Working families are worse off while millionaires enjoy tax cuts.

The election remains a choice between a Tory plan which is failing working families and Labour’s better plan which will put working families first and save our NHS.
We need a Labour Government for a better future.

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