Yesterday I joined members of the Manor and Castle Action Group to discuss the impact of the cost-of-living crisis in the area and talk about the action needed to support people. Today I took what I heard into the debate on the Government’s programme set out in the Queen’s Speech, telling Ministers: 

“I spent yesterday morning at a crisis meeting in a part of my constituency where incomes are lowest. We looked at how the cost of living crisis was impacting on people. The meeting involved the voluntary sector, energy advisers, food banks, debt advisers, schools, housing providers, local councillors and more. We talked about people’s real struggles to feed families and pay bills; about the impact of that on the mental health of people who had previously been just managing but could not see how that could continue; about suicide attempts as a consequence of what people in the constituency were facing; and about the re-emergence of the problem of loan sharks exploiting people’s hardship.” 

I called for action including the restoration of the universal credit uplift, a meaningful increase in the household support fund and a windfall tax to cap energy bills and reduce VAT on them. I contrasted the Government’s refusal to act with other countries, pointing out that: 

“France has limited energy bill increases to just 4% this year by taking £7 billion out of EDF’s profits. Spain has committed to cutting connection fees and to taxing excess profits on new electricity supply contracts to protect people from soaring prices. It is spending €16 billion on support. Germany has instigated a range of measures, including tax reliefs, a reduction in fuel duty and a monthly public transport ticket costing just €9, which will also encourage the modal shift we need in the way people move about”.  

Read my speech here or watch here.

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