Mick Whitley, MP for Birkenhead, criticised the Government for spurning every opportunity to tackle the cost-of-living crisis and sitting on its hands as a record 9% increase in inflation – the highest rate since 1982 – ravages the household budgets of the people of Birkenhead and the rest of the country.
This same government is merrily voting down every measure proposed by Labour – a windfall tax on the humungous profits of the big oil companies amongst them – that would have helped ease the crisis for the poor and hardworking families. Energy costs mean that inflation is a lot higher for poorer families because of the amount of their earnings or benefits that they have to spend on gas and electricity.
Mick Whitley said, “A one-off tax on huge oil and gas profit would raise billions of pounds and cut energy bills across the country for millions of families. The Prime Minister and his Chancellor can’t make up their minds. One minute they are ruling it in, the next they are ruling it out. Every single day that the Conservatives continue this windfall tax hokey-cokey, working families are suffering. Families across the country can’t afford to wait for the Prime Minister to make his mind up.”
Family budgets are at breaking point. Two in five people are now buying less food because of the cost-of-living crisis. In April two million adults skipped a day’s eating to try and save money. The Resolution Foundation predicts that almost one and a half million people – including half a million children – will fall into absolute poverty next year.
This is what food inflation of nine per cent and rising means for millions. It is what energy costs heading for a fifty-four per cent increase are inflicting on the poorest and most vulnerable people in this country – a Hobson’s choice of heat or eat.
Mick Whitley added, “The cost-of-living crisis is a war on the poor. It is the scourge of countless working families. Scandalous at a time when the CEO of Tesco has just pocketed a pay packet of almost five million pounds for one year’s work. A customer assistant at Tesco would have to work 267 years to earn the same as the CEO got for twelve months. A badge of shame.”
A government that cares about its people should be working towards both short- and long-term solutions in its plans for the year ahead. Sadly, this Government plans for very little beyond its own self-preservation.
While a Tory MP, Lee Anderson, has advised the poorest in our country to take up cookery lessons and the Minister of Food, George Eustice, has told people to scour the shops for the cheapest brands, the Government itself has offered little more than scraps from its table.
These offer little comfort to those whose housing benefit has been frozen since 2020 while rents have skyrocketed. They offer no long-term solutions to those whose benefits and pensions have been cut and pegged back. Nor do they help those in work who face soaring prices and falling wages.
Mick told birkenhead.news, “This is why Labour is pushing for an emergency budget that targets support to those who need it, that addresses the long-term problems in the economy that are feeding the inflationary upward spiral and that offers hope to those whose lives are currently being wrecked by the cost-of-living crisis.”