PHILIP Hammond’s Budget has been labelled ‘unfit for the future’ by opponents in Bolton.

Cllr Linda Thomas hit out at the Chancellor’s failure to address the social care crisis in his speech in the House of Commons.

The deputy council leader added that the Government was ‘playing catch up’ when it comes to addressing major housing shortages.

Cllr Thomas said: “This is a budget that is unfit for the future. It’s unfit for our schools, our elderly residents and those in our most impoverished areas.

“House building is in the mire. In Bolton we have 9,000 undeveloped planning permissions. We have been promised reform in the past which has delivered very little in reality. It’s pragmatism locally that has seen us take big steps to unlocking strategic brownfield sites in the town centre for housing. Bolton is moving forward and it’s the government who are playing catch up.”

She added: “The government had the power to relieve the volcanic pressure in social care in Bolton, but ignored it. Local people will be expected to foot the bill again and they are rightly fed-up with taking the weight where national government have given up.

“The growing pressure of our ageing population suffering chronic conditions should be funded by government in full. After schools it’s our biggest budget pressure. We are well aware that we are the poor relations and yet failure to invest in us makes our precious NHS unsustainable in the long-run.”

Sir David Crausby MP said he found the Budget ‘uninspiring’ and challenged the Government to ‘get serious’ about the Northern Powerhouse.

He said: “It is a good idea to build more houses but I have to say that I have heard these promises before and will only believe it when I see it.

“We have to do something about land banking. People should not be able to sit on undeveloped land with planning permission in the hope that its price will go up. The Government has to take some real decisions on that issue.

“Cutting stamp duty will not be much use in the North. It is a London-centric policy, but that it not where the country’s problems are.

“Any investment in Greater Manchester is welcome, but it is a pittance compared to what London gets.”

Meanwhile, Bolton West MP Chris Green welcomed the announcement on Universal Credit reforms, which will see the seven day waiting period after a benefit claim scrapped.

The Tory MP said: “I am very pleased that the government has listened to my recommendations and made these important changes, particularly reducing the six week wait for payment.

“The principle of Universal Credit is a very good one – ensuring that we have a welfare state that will protect the most vulnerable in our society, but also making sure that those who can work do so.

“Results suggest that those on Universal Credit are more likely to find work within six months, work more hours and more than if they were on the old benefits system. This new reform will improve the system further.”