This week marks 12 full years of Conservative government. And in the past month, almost two million people in Britain have gone without food for a whole day because they can’t afford to eat.
We are in the middle of a cost of living crisis that the Tories knew was coming for months, a crisis made worse in Downing Street through complacency and obstinacy, by Tory ministers distracted by their own lies to Parliament and the people.
It’s bitterly obvious that they have no proper plan to help people make ends meet. Tories on TV make it all too clear they have simply no idea of people’s lives. Buying cheaper brands and cancelling Netflix, their latest bright ideas, won’t touch the sides of the crisis family finances face now. Here in Sunderland, even the local Conservatives have accepted figures suggesting extra costs for families of £600 this year – more than four times the amount the Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak has belatedly made available to help.
But the real figure looks set to be much higher than that. Data from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) shows disposable income will fall by over £2,000 per household. Respected thinktank the Resolution Foundation has published research estimating the average two-earner couple will see their cost of living rise by a staggering £2,600.
That’s why Labour is calling for an Emergency Budget right now. We are facing a cost of living crisis and Labour believes the role of government is to support families through it, not leave them to fester in despair. Labour has a clear and costed plan to help right now, with a one-off windfall tax on oil and gas companies to help people cover their energy bills. This would save families up to £600 and we would target support to pensioners and families who need it most.
Part of driving energy bills down is driving energy consumption down. Proper insulation keeps bills down and protects our planet, putting our children’s future at the heart of our thinking.
Labour would build up the UK’s renewable energy sector faster and insulate homes across the country to save households £400 every year.
But as well as inaction now, the Tories have been setting up this crisis for years, with fifteen tax rises on the trot, including April’s national insurance rise on business and working people.
Labour would have scrapped this national insurance rise and developed towards a better tax system where top earners pay their fair share, and we would scrap the outdated non-dom tax status which helps the richest – including the family of Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak – to pay less while others pay more.
It’s not too late for the government to act, but time is running out for families and businesses across the city.