Just over a year ago, Central Devon MP Mel Stride demanded that the financial watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), publish their forecast of Liz Truss’s disastrous budget. 

Now he is in the Cabinet he is perhaps less enthusiastic about what the OBR say about Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement. 

They actually say that the economy is to grow more slowly than expected, inflation will be higher than predicted, and for longer, and households are to suffer the ‘largest reductions in real living standards’ since records began. Public services, already hard pressed, are going to suffer a staggering £19bn cut by 2027-28. On top of this, it has been estimated that although we all will be poorer, the reduction in National Insurance will benefit the richest 20 per cent of households by £1,000 on average, five times more than the £200 gained by the poorest 20 per cent.

The cut in public services will particularly affect public health and social services, meaning that adult social care and children’s services will be cut. Less money in adult social care means poorer services for the elderly with the inevitable result of greater bed-blocking and greater waiting lists for the NHS. We already know that the service for children with Special Educational Needs in Devon has previously been poor; the situation will now only get worse.  

Yet Jeremy Hunt has the audacity to say these are the ‘biggest tax cuts since the 1980s’. Mel Stride has said: “A terrific Conservative Autumn Statement from Jeremy Hunt. We are capitalising on the opportunities afforded by careful stewardship of the economy.” Given the facts, would you really want to vote for politicians who say this?

Mike Baldwin