Red Budget Box
Red Budget Box

Brighton & Hove Labour Councillors have expressed their dismay at the Chancellor’s Spring Statement, which utterly failed to address the cost of living crisis residents are faced with.

Labour Councillors across the country had lobbied the Government to scrap their planned national insurance hike that would hit working people hardest, to introduce a windfall tax on oil and gas companies with record profits in order to cut fuel bills for families, and to protect households from runaway inflation. Unfortunately, the Chancellor’s Spring Statement did none of those things.

Whilst a Labour Government would cut VAT, introduce a windfall tax on oil and gas companies who are making billions of pounds in profits, introduce a targeted Warm Homes Discount, roll out a proper energy efficiency scheme and protect families from surging energy prices, the Conservative Chancellor chose instead to hit working people with a regressive tax rise, at a time when inflation is at its highest level for 30 years.

Martin Lewis (of Money Saving Expert) predicts that 10 million people could be pushed into fuel poverty. Meanwhile, pensions and social security are not going to keep up with inflation (currently 6.2%), those on benefits and receiving state pensions are facing real terms cuts to their incomes.

This Spring Statement came off the back of years of widespread waste, crony contracts and a frenzy of fraud by this Tory Government; 7 billion items of PPE not usable and now being burnt – taxpayers’ money literally going up in smoke, £3.5 billion worth of contract awarded to friends and donors, a staggering £11.8 billion of public money lost to fraud, and the Chancellor expects taxpayers to pay more.

Co-leader of the opposition and finance lead, Cllr Carmen Appich said:

“The Chancellor’s Spring Statement has delivered next to nothing for ordinary families in Brighton & Hove who are about to see their energy bills spike by 54%.

“Since the Tories entered government the UK has experienced the biggest downgrade in growth of any major economy, and after 12 years of squeezed incomes, we see parents skipping meals so children don’t, families struggling to buy new schools and uniforms for their kids, pensioners choosing to go cold because they’re worried about the cost of putting the heating on.

“In the face of an unprecedented cost-of-living crisis, the Chancellor had the opportunity on Wednesday to intervene and help people who are struggling. He chose not to, and thanks to his choices, who knows how many more children, workers and pensioners will drift into poverty?

“A landlord with a large number of properties won’t be paying a penny more in taxes under the Chancellor’s new national insurance hike, but their tenants will be. Someone with significant income from buying and selling stocks and shares won’t be paying any more in tax. But ordinary working people powering our economy will. That’s the choice this Conservative Government has made, and frankly, our residents deserve better.”

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