BRIDGET PHILLIPSON: Working people will be left to pay the bill for years to come

Politics has, rightly, taken a back seat in recent weeks as our country has mourned the death of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

"Liz Truss has already ruled out using a windfall tax on the excess profits of the oil and gas companies."
"Liz Truss has already ruled out using a windfall tax on the excess profits of the oil and gas companies."

But having received many letters throughout this deeply sad time, I know people’s worry about this winter’s cost of living crisis remains very real and very present.

I regularly survey constituents and my most recent findings on the cost of living were stark.

Paying gas and electricity bills is causing the most anxiety, staying on top of bills is a worry for nearly half of those surveyed.

Staggeringly, only a third of responders thought their income would keep up with increased costs.

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And the data backs this up. The government’s own statistics show tens of thousands of households across Sunderland live in homes which are expensive to heat, with incomes so low that the cost of heating their homes drives people into poverty.

I’ve been calling for a windfall tax since January and Labour crafted our plan to tackle the cost of living crisis whilst the Conservatives were talking to themselves all summer. It has been obvious that this situation is unsustainable and that action is required for a long while.

I’m glad Labour has dragged the government, kicking and screaming, to this conclusion.

The new Conservative Prime Minister now plans to adopt parts of Labour’s energy plan. But Liz Truss has already ruled out using a windfall tax on the excess profits of the oil and gas companies.

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Instead, the government plans to borrow the money and have our children and grandchildren foot the bill. It’s not fair and it’s not right.

So, the big dividing line in British politics today is: who pays?

Under the Conservatives, working people will be left paying the bill for years to come.

Labour would make sure families don’t pay a penny more this winter and get energy costs under control for the future.

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We’d do this through a one-off tax on the eyewatering profits on the North Sea oil and gas giants, who – in their own words – have more money than they know what to do with.

This is a government out of ideas, another zigzag in the record of low growth over which the Conservatives have presided, another example of the Tory instinct to reach for the pockets of working people to meet the costs of their own failure.

Only Labour can deliver the fresh start our country deserves.