Chancellor Rishi Sunak's Spring Statement did little to ease cost-of-living crisis with high taxes set to continue to make it worse – Ian Murray MP

The day before the Chancellor’s Spring Statement, he tweeted “the work starts tomorrow”. Rather ironic given his government has been in power for 12 years.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak leaves 11 Downing Street on his way to deliver his Spring Statement in the House of Commons (Picture: Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images)
Chancellor Rishi Sunak leaves 11 Downing Street on his way to deliver his Spring Statement in the House of Commons (Picture: Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images)

Even more satirical given Rishi Sunak has promised security to the families worst impacted by the cost-of-living crisis.

Yet we were met with a list of missed opportunities that will do nothing to help.

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It was his government that left people exposed to spiralling prices long before the emergency in Ukraine.

Even Martin Lewis, the Money Saving Expert, said he was out of ideas, stating that this is the worst situation he’s experienced in more than 20 years. So, would the Chancellor rise to the challenge? Conclusion, an emphatic no.

The prices of petrol, food and energy are still soaring, and people are worried.

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On top of this, the Chancellor is choosing to bring in a huge National Insurance rise at the worst possible time that will have an enormous impact on working people and businesses.

It is a regressive tax rise that will hit 27 million workers and businesses while leaving other forms of income untouched.

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He did announce giving a little bit of the huge tax rise back in July and a promise of a maybe little bit more in 2024 but it will do nothing to help those worried about their weekly shop or energy bill.

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What he didn’t say was that the freezing of tax thresholds when inflation is so high means you’ll pay more in tax regardless of his partial rebate.

Sunak has raised tax more times in the last two years than any Chancellor over the last 50 years. This statement gave just a sixth of it back.

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He is the biggest tax-raising Chancellor in post-war history and has made it clear that working people will carry the burden.

No other major economy is raising taxes in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis, and we are the only country in the G7 raising taxes on working people while inflation reaches 30-year highs.

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Our European neighbours are cutting taxes because they understand ordinary citizens should not be bearing the brunt of this crisis.

The Tories are now the high-tax party because they have become the party of economic stagnation.

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They have legislated for the largest tax burden on working people in 70 years and due to their economic mismanagement, ordinary people are set to experience the largest drop in living standards since records began in 1956.

It’s time for both the Tories and the SNP to look again at Labour’s proposal for a one-off windfall tax on oil and gas companies.

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This would allow us to give all households up to £600 off their bills rather than the Chancellor’s £200 “buy now, pay later” scheme.

The SNP should also cancel council tax, water bill and rail fare increases.

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With Labour’s costed plans to buy, make and sell more in Britain, and our Climate Investment Pledge, we’ll get our economy firing on all cylinders. And under Labour, National Insurance wouldn't go up either.

British people were looking to the government to help them weather this cost-of-living storm, and frankly, the Chancellor wasn’t up to the job.

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We can no longer afford the Conservatives but let’s not just oppose them, let’s replace them altogether.

Ian Murray is Labour MP for Edinburgh South

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