Communist Party general secretary Robert Griffiths released the following statement today (March 8) in response to the Spring Budget of Chancellor Philip Hammond:

Chancellor Hammond is pressing ahead with tax cuts on corporate profits, capital gains and inherited wealth.

He has nothing new to offer workers on the national living wage - most of whom are women - or benefit claimants and pensioners, even though inflation is set to rise to more than 2 per cent and stay there, swallowing up the small increases already in the pipeline.

Meanwhile, more austerity punishment beatings are promised for everyone who needs public services and social welfare. It's reminiscent of the old navy motto: 'floggings will continue until morale improves'.

But Hammond has left local councils to wield the whip and cut even more deeply into essential public services.

Even the extra £2.4bn promised for social care and the NHS over the next three years is chicken feed when an extra £18bn is needed to bring Britain's health spending up to the European average and an extra £30bn to match France and Germany.

Most of the additional £2bn social care funding to local government will end up in private sector coffers. Even worse, £325m of the paltry NHS pledge is linked to implementation of Sustainability and Transformation Plans in England, which are intended to cut and privatise facilities and services in order to meet a projected NHS deficit of £20bn by 2020-21.

This is a Tory Chancellor who boasts that 'we are the party of the NHS' but who responds to the deepest crisis in its history with crumbs and a 'For Sale' notice.

Most of his miserly £216m additional investment in schools will be wasted on Prime Minister May's obsession with dividing pupils into grammar school successes and secondary modern school failures.

This is a Tory government whose budget today confirms that it's a government of, by and for the rich and big business.