What did Christian politicians think of Budget 2016?

George Osborne delivered his eighth budget. Many pointed out he may no longer be Chancellor by the time his reforms are implemented in full in 2019/20Reuters

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has described his eighth budget as one that "puts the next generation first".

George Osborne made a number of changes to the tax system which included an increase in the tax free personal allowance to £11,500 as well as an increase to the higher tax rate threshold to £45,000 from its current threshold of £42,385.

In addition he announced a new "lifetime ISA" to encourage young people to save and a series of measures worth £115 million to tackle homelessness.

Osborne said it was a budget of "social justice delivered by Conservative means". However the leader of the Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn, said it had "unfairness at its very core".

"This budget is a culmination of six years of his [Osborne's] failures," said Corbyn.

Christian Today has sought the views of a number of Christian politicians from all parties who have given their snap reactions.

David Burrowes, Conservative MP for Enfield South, who led a rebellion against the Chancellor's plans to liberalise Sunday trading, gave Osborne warm praise: "This is a Budget that puts the next generation first – a Budget to make Britain fit for the future," he told Christian Today, echoing the Chancellor's words.

"The British economy is stronger because we confronted our country's problems and took the difficult decisions, but we now face the challenge of a dangerous cocktail of global risks. Britain is well prepared to handle this challenge, but only if we act now so we don't pay later.

"I am pleased that the vulnerable will be helped in this Budget. It is because of our commitment to long-term decisions and sound public finances that we can, for example, spend an additional £1 billion on the disabled and £115 million more on the homeless."

Stephen Timms, Labour's faith envoy, told Christian Today Jeremy Corbyn was "quite right to highlight the weaknesses in George Osborne's stewardship" and pointed to failure to eradicate the deficit, as promised, by 2015.

He continued: "I very much agreed with Jeremy Corbyn was his point that if the Chancellor can finance give-aways to certain business sectors, why not for disabled people?"

Osborne has announced cuts to the personal independence payment for people with disabilities which will effect 600,000 people. Timms said the cuts were "particularly objectionable" as they came alongside hand outs "to people who are much better off".

On the £115 million fund to tackle homelessness Timms told Christian Today: "We have gone backwards very significantly on rough sleeping under this government so the acknowledgement we need to do something about it is rather late but it is welcome. There are wider problems emerging from the housing market failure. Street homelessness is the most striking but it by no means the only consequence."

However Timms said the Chancellor was "quite right" to highlight the "significant shock to the British economy" of a vote to leave the European Union.

George Osborne announced a further £3.5bn cuts per year. It is not yet fully clear where they will fallReuters

Helen Goodman, the Labour MP for Bishop Auckland, was more disparaging. She told Christian Today the homelessness fund was a "short term measure" and was "only a patch" on what she described as the "major structural destruction of the welfare state".

"Under the Conservatives we have seen massive cuts to housing benefit and the introduction of the Bedroom Tax. Inequality in the UK and across the world continues to rise unacceptably. Oxfam says that the top one per cent in Britain have gained a quarter of new wealth since 2000," she told Christian Today.

"This Budget does nothing to reverse the fundamentally unjust approach the Conservatives have taken – in fact, the capital gains tax cut is a further boost to the rich."

Among the Chancellor's numerous announcements was a further £3.5 billion in cuts to government spending per year during this parliament in order to reach his self-imposed aim of a budget surplus by 2020.

Lord Newby, the Liberal Democrat chief whip in the House of Lords, ridiculed this aim and said there was "no economic justification for these further cuts". He told Christian Today: "They amount to little more than macho political posturing but they will have devastating impacts on the lives of many of the poorest and most vulnerable in our society and the public services on which they depend. Spending more money on education may be welcome but it is a sideshow compared to the billions of pounds of cuts planned across the whole public sector."

Gavin Shuker, the Labour MP for Luton South told Christian Today the budget revealed Osborne's "failure to tackle the debt, his failure to follow his own fiscal rules and his failure to foster a robust recovery."

He drew attention to a number of measures including a "£1.2 billion personal independence payment cut for disabled people," and said over 2 million families would lose on average £1,600 from Universal Credit cuts.

He said: "Once again George Osborne has put the burden on the most vulnerable people, an immoral choice."

However Caroline Spelman, Conservative MP for Meriden and second church estates commissioner, praised the changes introduced in the budget. Among Osborne's more obscure hand-outs was a further £20 million fund for repair works to cathedrals which Spelman particularly welcomed.

She told Christian Today: "I welcome the measures the Chancellor has today introduced in today's Budget Speech. Not only has this budget guaranteed the security of the British economy, protecting jobs and helping small businesses grow during uncertain times, but it has further ensured that our young people will have access to a home of their own and a fair pension.

"In particular, I welcome a pledge of £20 million to fund cathedral repairs, a guaranteed fairer schools funding formula and a long term plan to address issues around children's health."

The Church of England also said it "welcomed warmly" the announcement.