“With the scale of this crisis worsening by the day, the Government must ease the suffering felt in our communities through three simple measures, all of which are supported by economists and politicians across the political spectrum.”
By Imran Hussain MP
The Spring Statement is an opportunity for Rishi Sunak to cast a life vest toward ordinary people grappling with the cost-of-living crisis.
Families were already set to see the cost of their energy bills, gas and food shopping dramatically rise this year, but now, faced with rising inflation that the Government has failed to keep in check, prices are out of control.
With the scale of this crisis worsening by the day, the Government must ease the suffering felt in our communities through three simple measures, all of which are supported by economists and politicians across the political spectrum.
- Scrap the National Insurance Hike
First and foremost, it is an absolute necessity that this Spring Statement scraps the regressive rise in National Insurance which will hit thousands of workers up and down the country in their wallets, with the average family set to lose £500 a year.
This is a tax grab that many simply cannot afford, and at a time of massive inflation, the Government should be boosting workers’ income and purchasing power, rather than reducing it.
- Boost Benefits
The Government needs to increase Universal Credit in line with inflation and bring back the uplift.
With inflation at the highest level in 30 years, Universal Credit claimants face an even steeper real terms cut in payments than predicted, and the Government must go further than the planned rise of 3.1%
The uplift was introduced at the beginning of the Coronavirus Crisis following a consensus that Universal Credit payments didn’t provide claimants with enough to get by on and with the onset of another crisis, the Government should take heed of this crucial lesson by reintroducing the £1,000 a year uplift.
- Pay for a reduction in bills with a Windfall Tax on energy profits.
Despite the guff we hear from Tory Minister’s about protecting cash strapped energy companies, it is these multi-billion-pound mega corporations who are cashing in on the misery caused by soaring bills.
Giving the energy cartel free reign to gouge ordinary people, despite profits so obscene that BP’s Chief has gloated the company is a “cash machine” – is nothing short of a disgrace.
Through funding a cut in household bills with a Windfall Tax on the bumper profits of these energy giants, the Government could soften the blow of this crisis by shifting the burden of price rises onto those with the broadest shoulders.
As a socialist I understand the demands outlined above could be perceived as piecemeal or inadequate. I accept they do not provide us with long term solutions to the disaster we find ourselves in after a decade of Tory failures.
But I know far too many of my constituents fear they won’t be able to afford their bills or feed their kids this year. We must, therefore, unite around winnable demands as an immediate response to the present crisis.
So, for Sunak, the Chancer Chancellor, it’s time to put up or shut up.