Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's autumn statement: Get ready to pay the price of a Tory government (higher taxes and public spending cuts) – Ian Murray

The backdrop for the Chancellor’s statement today could not be bleaker.
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Inflation has soared to more than 11 per cent, with energy bills and the price of food rising uncontrollably. Most alarmingly, costs are rising even faster for households on low incomes. A deep recession is forecast, and even if inflation does start to go down, it doesn’t mean prices will automatically go down, as consumer expert Martin Lewis explained on the BBC.

Amid this crisis, we have a Tory government that has completely lost its way and their excuses that it is a global problem ignores the fact inflation is dropping in the US and the UK economy ranks 38th out of 38 OECD nations in terms of growth.

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After his party crashed the economy, Rishi Sunak is going to do what he always does – make working people pay through even higher taxes and cuts to vital public services. There will be no respite for businesses either, with retailers facing their toughest festive season in a decade, as the Scottish Retail Consortium warned.

Business owners have had to endure extraordinary levels of chaos and uncertainty, all caused by the Tories. After 12 years, as everyone now knows, the Conservatives no longer have any credibility on the economy.

The Tories’ chaos and incompetence not only has a direct impact on incomes, jobs and livelihoods, there is also a mental health impact of the cost-of-living crisis. A poll of 1,000 adults in Scotland, commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation, found 33 per cent of people have felt stressed and 40 per cent have experienced anxiety.

Much of the reported stress stems from the inflation and cost-of-living crisis, with around two-thirds worried about how they will pay bills, and more than half concerned about being able to afford food over the next few months. The charity is rightly calling on the Conservatives to ensure people at higher risk will be protected from the negative impact of both the cost-of-living crisis and looming cuts to public services.

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It doesn’t have to be this way. The UK has potential for growth, and it certainly has the talent. That’s why we need a Green Prosperity Plan, a modern industrial strategy, and a plan to boost skills to get our economy firing on all cylinders.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's autumn statement is expected to contain some bad news (Picture: Leon Neal/Getty Images)Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's autumn statement is expected to contain some bad news (Picture: Leon Neal/Getty Images)
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's autumn statement is expected to contain some bad news (Picture: Leon Neal/Getty Images)

And the British public deserve a proper say on our shared future. We need a general election so that people can choose between the Tories’ chaos or Labour’s plans to sort out their mess, grow the economy for working people and rebuild the country.

As for the SNP, its politicians still have their heads stuck in the sand. They are still clinging onto their negative campaign for independence, spending scarce government resources on flimsy documents that are nothing but a desperate attempt at distraction.

While they eagerly await next week’s Supreme Court verdict, people in the country anxiously await their next energy bill. Fifteen years in power, yet the SNP is doing nothing to stimulate the economy.

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From hospitals to schools to our railways, the SNP’s disastrous incompetence will leave us with strikes and a broken Scotland. We have two governments which are out of touch and out of ideas. The people of Scotland deserve so much better.

Ian Murray is Labour MP for Edinburgh South