The ongoing disaster of the UK Tory Government’s mini-budget was felt hard across Bristol South today as the fourth Conservative Chancellor of 2022, Jeremy Hunt, announced billions of pounds worth of service cuts and tax rises for hard working families and businesses already struggling with impact of soaring inflation.
Under the plans announced by the Chancellor today, energy bills will rise to an average of £3,000 a year in April 2023 – up £500 on this winter’s cap, real-terms incomes will collapse by 7.1%, the sharpest fall in history, and stealth tax grabs will sneak into pay packets. The UK is now in recession and our economic growth is the lowest of all the G7 countries. The Chancellor is also forcing local council to plug spending gaps caused by central government cuts by raising council tax, putting extra pressure on family budgets.
The Labour Party have been calling for a windfall tax on oil and gas companies to bring down energy prices. The Conservatives have resisted and even the windfall tax announced today is a pale imitation of Labour’s plans which would have cut £1000 a year from energy bills. Through opt-outs and investment loop-holes, most oil and gas companies will be able to significantly reduce the amount they owe to the treasury at a time when too many people are scared to turn on their heating.
Karin Smyth, Labour MP for Bristol South, said:
“Across Bristol South, ordinary people have seen their rents and mortgages go up and will now face bigger energy bills from April while their salaries are stretched further and further. The Chancellor could have used today to give a proper helping hand to those in need, instead the only winners from today’s budget are the bankers with newly uncapped bonuses, the oil and gas giants who can continue to make record profits and fill the pockets of shareholders and the non-doms who make their home in UK but refuse to pay their taxes. This is a clapped-out Tory Government who protect the billionaires and energy giants while local families across Bristol South struggle to make ends meet. Because of the choices made today by the Conservatives we have the highest tax levels in 75 years and yet public services are being left to crumble.”
“I am glad that the Chancellor has bowed to the pressure put on him by Labour to protect the pensions triple lock and to uprate support for the most vulnerable in line with inflation, but it should never have been in question. But the Chancellor could have gone further. He could have imposed a proper windfall tax on the excess profits of oil and gas companies, he could have abolished the non-dom tax status and he could have started to reclaim the billions lost in dodgy PPE contracts. All of this would have put billions of pounds into the treasury to pay for public services here in Bristol and across the UK.
“The only solution to the failed economics of the Tory Party is a General Election and a Labour Government in Westminster.”