AS I listened to the Chancellor deliver his Budget on Wednesday, I felt a mix of emotions.

I was relieved that the cut to Universal Credit was cancelled, that the self-employed support scheme was expanded, and that furlough and business support would continue for now. These measures were a victory for the trade unions, businesses and activists who campaigned so tirelessly to keep this support in place.

We must not forget however, that these measures were needed to prevent our economy from collapsing and causing mass unemployment. Only a fool would have scrapped this support and it’s worrying that the Chancellor even flirted with the idea.

Listening to reason is hardly a cause for celebration.

Mixed with that relief, however, was a deep frustration at the gaping holes that remained in the financial support for business and workers, as well as the threadbare nature of the recovery plan.

After spending the last few days reading countless Budget briefings, it’s apparent how much more the Chancellor could have done.

While support for the self-employed was expanded, many will remain excluded from any support at all.

And while Universal Credit will not be cut, the Chancellor refused to extend the uplift to legacy benefits, creating a two-tiered benefits system that means many disabled people will continue to struggle financially.

A year into this crisis, the Chancellor has no more excuses for his inaction.

It was also striking just how unimaginative the Chancellor’s Budget was. I was delighted by the Treasury campus in Darlington and I hope that this will create jobs for the region and help keep university graduates in the region. Likewise, I welcomed the idea of a National Infrastructure Bank in Leeds. Yet, both these policies were proposed in the 2019 Labour manifesto – as was increasing corporation tax. To be fair, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

I was shocked to see the Chancellor skating over the environment as if climate change was nothing more than a passing inconvenience, as opposed to an existential threat to our planet. While he may have borrowed the phrase ‘green industrial revolution’ from Labour, his policies fell well short of Labour’s plans to transform our economy with one million green jobs.

The country needed an ambitious Budget that addressed the major issues affecting the North-East and our communities today. Instead, it demonstrated that the Government has not learned the lessons of the last decade of failed austerity.

The social and economic foundations of our society were already weakened, and they have crumbled under the pressures of the pandemic. Our social security system was inadequate, diluted employment protections left workers exposed, while cuts to council funding meant key public services were lost.

Wednesday was a golden opportunity for the Government to address these failures. Not to build back as we were, but to create a society that works for the North as well as the South, one that has equality at its heart, and that protects our planet instead of exploiting it.

Instead, the Chancellor did the bare minimum.

The measures announced will see us through to the end of the Prime Minister’s roadmap, but no more. We will be left with the same shaky foundations that left us so vulnerable before and the plan for Britain’s recovery remains to be written.

L Mary Kelly Foy is the Labour MP for the City of Durham