Budget 2014: Barking MP Margaret Hodge welcomes Overground extension, but slams recovery claims

Margaret Hodge, MP for Barking

Margaret Hodge, MP for Barking - Credit: Archant

Barking MP Margaret Hodge has welcomed Government plans to extend the Overground line, but criticised the Chancellor’s recovery claims in yesterday’s Budget.

George Osborne announced plans to extend the Barking to Gospel Oak rail link to Barking Riverside, where 11,000 new homes will be built.

The scheme, expected to cost in the region of £100m, has been much-discussed and Mrs Hodge believes the area has waited long enough.

“I am really pleased that the Government has finally listened to our campaign for proper transport links for Barking Riverside,” she said. “It has been a long time coming.

“But I’m afraid that apart from that this Budget has little to offer people in Barking and Dagenham.”

In his penultimate budget speech before the next general election, Mr Osborne announced growth forecasts will rise to 2.7 per cent this year, up from 2.4pc as predicted in December.

Borrowing will be reduced by £13bn next year and the UK is expected be out of the deficit by 2018-19.

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But Mrs Hodge, who also chairs the Public Accounts Committee, argues the coalition’s positive outlook is not benefitting everyone.

“The Chancellor can reel off all the statistics he likes but the fact is that local people have yet to see the benefits of his so-called economic recovery,” she added

“The money in people’s pockets is going less far, local services are being cut, and benefits for the most vulnerable people in our community are being cut too.”

Mr Osborne pledged to champion “the makers, the doers and the savers” of Britain as he outlined the most far-reaching pension reforms since 1921.

The Chancellor presented his “budget for savers” with a package of help for pensioners as he revealed the economy is growing faster than expected.

He also outlined a range of other measures that included an increase to £10,500 for the tax-free personal allowance and a cut in beer duty by 1p per pint.