“Look over there” was the message from the Tories on budget day.

Don’t blame us that people in Hornsey and Wood Green are experiencing the biggest drop in living standards since records began, that seven million people are stuck on NHS waiting lists, that rents and mortgages are through the roof and that so many families can’t even afford to heat their homes. It’s not our fault that the UK is set to be the worst performing economy in the G7.

It’s the war in Ukraine, it’s the pandemic, it’s refugees fleeing persecution, it’s the last Labour Government. 

There’s nothing to see here. 

I suppose it should come as no surprise that the party which elected Boris Johnson as leader should also find it impossible to see their own fingerprints all over the mess our economy is in.

Ham & High: MP Catherine West blames the Conservative Government for the state of the economyMP Catherine West blames the Conservative Government for the state of the economy (Image: Supplied)

But it wasn’t the pandemic that failed to build houses, banned onshore wind, or pushed through a botched Brexit. It wasn’t the war that broke our public services, did nothing to fix our social care crisis or scrapped our home insulation schemes.

And it wasn’t refugees who crashed our economy with a kamikaze budget under Liz Truss that will see evictions soar and people paying higher mortgages and higher rents for years to come.

It was 13 years of the Tories, and it is being paid for by the empty pockets of people up and down the country. In my speech during the budget debate, I spoke about the stress and strain people in Hornsey and Wood Green are feeling. The young people waiting months or years for vital mental health support, the schools seeing their budgets collapsing and the high streets crying out for a rescue package that never came.

Is it any wonder Prime Minister Rishi Sunak wants you to look elsewhere, when the only permanent tax break in the budget was for the richest. 

These are Conservative choices and Conservative mistakes. The budget was a missed opportunity to act and people already struggling in Hornsey and Wood Green are paying the price.

Catherine West is Labour MP for Hornsey and Wood Green.