Ed Balls MP, Labour's Shadow Chancellor, responding to George Osborne's speech, said:
“George Osborne should be straight with the British people and admit that millions on middle and low incomes are paying the price for his economic failure, while he gives a huge tax cut to millionaires this week.
“Figures from the independent IFS show that the average family will be £891 worse off this year because of tax and benefit changes since 2010. On top of this incomes are being squeezed further as prices rise faster than wages, yet the Chancellor refuses to rule out cutting or freezing the minimum wage.
“The benefits bill is rising under this Government because our economy is flatlining, inflation is rising and unemployment is high. The best way to get the benefits bill down is to get our economy growing strongly and get people back to work. Ministers must explain why they will not back Labour's plan for a compulsory jobs guarantee for the long-term unemployed.”