JULIE ELLIOTT: Chance to confront the cost of living crisis was ignored

As the Chancellor stood up to deliver the budget last week, it should have been an opportunity for the Government to confront the cost of living crisis – but instead, they chose to ignore it.

Thursday, 4th November 2021, 12:00 am

In the budget, the Chancellor raised taxes by more this year than any Chancellor has in nearly 30 years, and they will reach their highest level in over 70 years.

This is at a time when family finances are stretched more than ever. Never before have the Government asked for so much, for so little in return.

With a new jobs tax, a freeze in personal allowance and the cut to Universal Credit which impacts 10,860 families in Sunderland Central alone, families are facing a cruel triple whammy that will hit them in their pockets.

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Families are struggling to put food on the table and keep their children warm, but this Government is too busy looking out for themselves and their mates.

It is a basic duty of Government to ensure that services are properly funded, and that there is a secure and affordable energy supplies for households and businesses.

Yet half a million extra families will be plunged into fuel poverty because of the decision to raise the energy price cap.

The rise in gas prices is a global issue, but the UK is facing particular difficulties due to a lack of resilience in our energy system.

It is this underinvestment in vital infrastructure that is hitting people’s pockets, and that is stunting our progression to a greener, net zero future.

Additionally, in-work poverty has reached record levels under the Tories.

There are two million more people from working households living in poverty now, compared to 2010, and the budget has ignored the situation that is has forced so many into.

This is a Government that is determined to make taxpayers pay for its own incompetence, and as we approach a difficult winter, the Government has shown that it is out of touch with the daily lives of the people it claims to represent.

This budget was yet another chance for the Government to support those that worked on the front lines during the pandemic; it was another chance for the Government to deal with the cost-of-living crisis; it was another chance to support those who need it most.

It failed on all these questions, and as wages continue to stagnate whilst the taxes raise, it is clear where the Tories’ allegiances lie – and it is not with the taxpayer.