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For All George Osborne's Rhetoric, Too Many of the Tories' Policies Remain Anti-Working People

08/07/2015 07:00 BST | Updated 07/07/2016 10:59 BST

Today George Osborne sets out his first budget as Chancellor in a majority Conservative Government.

Talk is cheap - now is the time to put to the test his claim that the Tory party can really be the party of working people.

After all the extensive briefing, it's not looking good for George Osborne's claims for his Party.

For a start, its clear tax credits are first in the firing line even though that will hit working mothers hardest. The idea that removing tax credits will better reward work is baloney. Seventy per cent of those who get tax credits are in jobs.

But as the low paid, low productivity economy has grown, more families find they can't cover childcare, or transport on their wages, and fear they would be better off on benefits. As I argued last week, sensible welfare reform supports work incentives and makes sure work pays - that's what tax credits help achieve.

Cutting inheritance tax on the richest estates in the country while those on the lowest pay are being hard hit is the wrong priority for Britain.

Nor does the Chancellor look likely to do enough to support the good quality, high skilled jobs that working people need. So far he has shelved crucial plans for transport investment in the Midlands and North - despite promising the trans pennine and midland mainline upgrades before the election. Further education has been targeted for the biggest post election cuts this year. And there is still no sign of the transformation of vocational education and skills that we need to support productivity growth.

For all George Osborne's rhetoric, too many of the Tories' policies remain anti-working people.

A real agenda for working people today based on Labour values would mean not just the long overdue increases in the minimum wage, but strong incentives for the living wage, continued support for tax credits, a plan for a childcare revolution to support working parents.

And perhaps most of all it needs a positive strategy to boost good quality high tech jobs for the future so Britain doesn't just compete on low skilled, low productivity jobs, losing out in the global competition for good jobs to India, China and other countries.

A target to increase Britain's R&D investment to 3% working with business could generate two million more high skilled manufacturing jobs - that would be great news for working people. And it would help support the strong growth we need to get the deficit back down, making it possible to run surpluses in future bringing down debt and to sustain our vital public services too.

Yvette Cooper is the shadow home secretary and Labour MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford