In my last column in this paper, I wrote about the growing challenges that the cost of living crisis is posing to families in Battersea and the measures that the Government needed to take.
The Chancellor’s Spring Statement last month was a chance to face this crisis head on. But, sadly, he chose not take the action needed to prevent the worst impacts of the unfolding crisis.
Research published ahead of the statement showed that 66 per cent of people in Battersea have expensive energy bills than a year ago, 55 per cent face increased transport costs, and 69 per cent have seen groceries go up in price.
In a crisis like this, the broadest shoulders should bear the greatest burden. The Chancellor could have chosen to increase social security in line with inflation, but instead families and disabled people face a real-terms cut.
Working-age households in poverty are now £350 a year worse off. The Prime Minister says that ‘work is the best way out of poverty’.
But, after 12 years of a Tory government, one in eight working people are still in poverty.
Forty two per cent of children in working families are now under the Minimum Income Standard, nearly twice as many as in 2019 (22 per cent).
But – and surely the Conservatives do know this – there are some people who can’t work.
This statement contained no direct help for disabled people, even though they are feeling the effects of the cost of living rise more acutely than anyone else.
Soaring energy prices are forcing some to choose between powering their life-saving equipment and putting the heating on or washing their clothes.
On April 1, people in Battersea faced a 54 per cent increase in the price of energy.
Inflation is causing the biggest drop in the standard of living since rationing.
Labour has a plan – cutting tax on energy bills and a one-off windfall tax on the oil and gas producers profiteering from this crisis.
The Chancellor had a chance to help, but he chooses not to.
His inaction will cause hardship for millions now, and the after-effects of this deprivation will last for a generation.
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