Cost of Living
Cost of Living

With food prices increasing, heating bills going up, and taxes rising, this is a very difficult time for most working class people.  Yet, the Government are missing in action – the current financial support is not enough to protect the living standards for households with the lowest incomes.

We are living through a national economic crisis, but this Conservative Government is putting profits of private oil and gas companies before the British people.

Despite the Government’s promise to mitigate the worst of the cost of living crisis for people on the lowest incomes, inflation has risen and the prices of essentials such as food, energy, and fuel have continued to soar.  Inflation in the UK hit a 40-year high of 10.1% in July, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).  The figure, up from 9.4% in June, is the first time inflation has hit double digits since 1982.

The recent price cap jump by 80% to £3,549, average energy bills are set to increase and some households will find themselves paying energy bills that are three-times higher than they were last winter.

The Government has so far declined to cut VAT on household energy bills, a move which would positively impact households and small businesses. This is, once again, another example of the Government failing to represent the needs of the British people.

The Labour Party’s stance on the Government’s response to the Cost of Living crisis:

The Government is not doing enough to help, and they fail to acknowledge that inflation is now causing hardship for many people.

Labour’s £29 billion plan will stop bills increasing and we would act immediately to stop energy prices rising and get them under control for the future as we understand the urgency of this crisis.

The Government’s financial package of £400 is not enough.  Labour’s plan would put an end to the rising energy price cap by taxing huge oil and gas profits.  By doing this, the average household would save £1,000 this winter, future energy costs would be under control, and it would help tackle inflation.

Labour’s Warm Homes Plan would reduce energy demand and lower bills by insulating one of the 19 million homes that need it across the country.  If the government had implemented such a pan a year ago, as urged by the Opposition, two million of the coldest homes could have bene insulated already.

At this time of rising inflation, I support cutting VAT on household energy bills from 5% to 0% for this year.  The poorest households in the UK spend a higher proportion of their income on gas and electricity bills, with pensioners spending the highest proportion of all so the beneficiaries of this measure would have been the people who need support more than anyone.

We would stop bills rising now and invest in sustainable, British energy including wind, tidal, and solar power for the future, so that people can get through the winter months while laying the foundation for a stronger, more secure economy.

Labour will do all that we can to alleviate the impact of the cost of living on people.

I believe the Government is not doing enough to help people struggling with the cost of living crisis and many of its decisions have exacerbated matters.  The Government’s refusal to help is shown by their cuts to Universal Credit and other benefits from April 2022.

I am confident that Labour’s plan would stop bills rising now and ensure sustainable energy for the future.

With regard to Personal Independence Payment (PIP), recent reports have highlighted that people eligible for cash payments worth up to £157 a week are missing out because bureaucratic delays have driven up the average processing times for PIP claims to five months. In the middle of this cost-of-living crisis, it is in my view unacceptable that disabled people are being made to wait this long to receive vital social security.

More widely, the Chancellor has refused to look again at these real terms cuts to benefit and pensions he announced in the Spring Statement.  This is even though a cross-party alternative to his approach has bene suggested by the chair of the House of Commons, Treasury, and Work and Pensions Select Committees.  The Government has chosen to ignore the calls recommended to bring forward a proportion of the Universal Credit increase Ministers indicated will take place in 2023.

Further, we must seriously evaluate the ownership of energy and other utilities in the UK. This is not an overnight process, but we must ensure any decision made benefits the British public both in the short and long term.

As the Opposition Party, Labour must continue to press the Government to take urgent action and make sure that the working people do not suffer from the carelessness and incompetence of the Tory Government.

If you or your family are struggling due to the cost of living crisis and need any financial or wellbeing support, I have collated a list of useful resources to help you, click here.

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