'We're sick of Chancellor's spin' says South Tyneside MP

Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn hit out at the Chancellor.
Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn hit out at the Chancellor.

South Tyneside MP Stephen Hepburn today hit out at Chancellor George Osborne, saying: "We are sick of the spin."

The Member of Parliament for Jarrow spoke out as the Commons debate on last week's Budget entered its third day.

The Chancellor has been forced to drop cuts to Personal Independence Payments (PIP) for the disabled, while ministers will not seek to oppose amendments to scrap the so-called "tampon tax" and an increase in VAT on solar panels.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith cited concerns over further cash cuts for the most vulnerable to help those who are better-off as the reason for his dramatic resignation on Friday.

Mr Hepburn said he does not see Mr Duncan Smith as a "comrade in arms in the fight for fairness" but he did welcome his "conversion to our case after six years of the most brutal attacks the welfare system has ever seen since its creation".

He also hit out at Mr Osborne, telling MPs: "We are sick of the spin of the Chancellor".

"Whether it be the northern powerhouse guff that he keeps coming out with or him being the builder of the infrastructure in this country," he said.

"Bob the Builder was funny but George the builder isn't."

Labour has urged the Government to rule out disability benefit cuts until at least 2020 as they called for Mr Osborne to redo his Budget.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said an "enormous hole" has appeared in the Budget within five days after cuts for the disabled were shelved,

Communities Secretary Greg Clark has admitted that ministers failed to identify the "least worst option" in deciding where to cut spending in last week's Budget.

He insisted the overarching need for deficit reduction remains, but acknowledged "we haven't always got it right first time".