POVERTY CHANCELLOR MUST DO MORE THAN TINKER WITH TORY CUTS AND TAX HIKES
East Dunbartonshire MP, Amy Callaghan, has said the Chancellor “is not going anywhere near far enough” to boost household incomes and tackle the spiralling Tory cost-of-living crisis. Ahead of the Spring budget, the UK faces one of the worst drops in living standards for decades. Ms Callaghan said the Chancellor has “failed to grasp the seriousness” of the emergency in his Spring Statement, instead opting to push even more people into poverty by hiking National Insurance, slashing Universal Credit, and imposing a real terms cut to pensions by scrapping the triple lock. The East Dunbartonshire MP also said the UK Government is "not going anywhere near far enough to support families" and has called on Ministers to follow the Scottish Government’s commitment of uprating benefits by 6%, as well as match the ‘game-changing’ £20-a-week Scottish Child Payment across the UK. Ms Callaghan also highlighted that the £200 ‘buy now, pay later’ energy loan set to come into effect in October is woefully unfit for purpose and must be turned into a more generous energy grant.
Calls for the Government to offer more robust measures to tackle the cost-of-living crisis come after several stark warnings from third sector organisations.
The National Institute of Economic and Social Research has warned that the number of UK households classed as destitute could rise by nearly a third this spring after the UK Government implements its National Insurance hike. Ofgem also estimate that millions of households will see their energy bills rise by over 50%, with analysis from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation indicating this energy price cap rise will have a harsher impact on the poorest families, who will spend on average 18% of their income after housing costs on energy bills after April.
Research from Age UK also suggests that pensioner poverty is set to soar, with three-quarters of older people in the UK – some 9.4 million – worried about the rising cost-of-living.
Commenting, Amy Callaghan MP said:
"The Tory cost of living crisis is already having a huge impact on working families across the UK and, particularly, to families and pensioners already struggling to make ends meet in East Dunbartonshire. The announcements in today’s Spring Statement do not go anywhere far enough to tackle this growing emergency.
"If anything, the Chancellor has failed to grasp the seriousness of the situation by refusing to match the commitments made by the Scottish Government to increase benefits, introduce meaningful support for families, as well as his unwillingness to scrap the proposed National Insurance hike. His plans will simply exacerbate issues.
"After decades of Tory cuts, austerity and Brexit, the UK Government has created a dire scenario for working class families. The UK is one of the most unequal countries in North-West Europe and is facing the highest in-work poverty this century.
"Despite this, by failing to deliver a comprehensive support package in his Spring Statement, it would appear the Chancellor is more than content to sit on his hands and refuse to tackle the poverty pandemic he and this Tory Government have made a reality."