Derek welcomed Chancellor Alistair Darling's Budget on Wednesday as a boost for families and businesses in support of the fragile recovery.
Commenting on the Chancellor's hour-long address to the House of Commons, Derek said:
"The message from the Chancellor is clear - the Labour Government stands for the many, not the few. We're determined to support job seekers, businesses and home owners in difficult economic times, which is why I welcome the extension of the under-24s jobs or training guarantee after March 2011, the extra £4 billion investment in the 'UK Finance for Growth' scheme, and taking properties valued under £250,000 out of stamp duty to help first time buyers.
Contrast this with the Conservatives approach of scrapping Child Trust Funds, priortising an inheritance tax cut of £200,000 for the richest 3,000 estates, and their intentions, as yet unspecified, to slash spending on frontline services from this year if they win the General Election.
We were right to support families through the recession. It's clear that if we had stood by and done nothing, like the Tories, more jobs would have been lost and more families would have lost their homes - as during the 1990s recession when repossessions were double their current rate, as indeed were business closures.
Now it's vital that we continue to invest in our public services to lock in the recovery, and provide targeted support to households as the economy recovers.
This Budget puts money back into people's pockets through tax and benefit systems. 440,000 families whose income has fallen are receiving extra help - on average, £38 more per week - through the tax credit system.
We're also extending Free School Meals to primary aged children of low-income working families in England. Once fully rolled out by September 2011, around 60,000 children will benefit.
I'm also pleased that Halton Borough Council will receive £169,200 in additional funding as part of an extra £100 million the Chancellor has ring-fenced for local authorities to repair pot hole damage as a result of the worst winter we've seen for 30 years. This builds upon the trebling of Government funding to local authorities for road maintenance over the past decade.
These are just a few of the ways in which the Government is providing support for families like yours. I warmly welcome this Budget as it demonstrates Labour's commitment to promoting fairness for all so that everyone can take advantage of opportunities to fulfill their potential."