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Editorial: This Government cannot be trusted with the economy

Updated: Dec 6, 2023

The last few weeks have demonstrated clearly that the Conservative Government and its new PM are completely out of touch and can’t be trusted with our economy.

The Government’s recent ‘fiscal event’ should have set out a plan to tackle the cost-of-living crisis, to reassure people in Bradford who are worrying how they are going to make ends meet, and to support businesses facing uncertainty and closure because of the sky-rocketing cost of energy.

Instead, PM Liz Truss’s new Chancellor set out a swathe of unfunded tax cuts to those who earn millions and the very richest companies – a move that will leave working people to pay higher prices and higher mortgage rates for years to come. The meagre breaks for the majority of people in Bradford will not even make a dent on the rising cost of living. On September 23rd, the Conservatives showed us exactly whose side they are on.

It wasn’t just the public and Labour MPs who were unhappy with the plans. Within minutes of the Chancellor’s announcements, the value of the pound plummeted, the markets reacted negatively, and the Bank of England had to step in to protect pension funds. The cost of borrowing has gone up, leaving people with even higher bills during this already awful cost of living crisis.

Those that will suffer the most are working people, and families who will now face paying hundreds of pounds extra on their mortgages to keep their homes as well as paying more for everyday items. The situation is so dire that the Bank of England has taken dramatic steps to intervene in a £65 billion bail-out to stabilise the nation’s economy. In other words, the Bank of England had to step in to save the economy from the Government ’s own reckless plans. Let me be clear, this is a crisis made in Downing Street, paid for by working people.

Ten days on and the Chancellor has been forced into a screeching U-turn on abolishing the top rate of income tax. But even this is about saving face, not saving people’s homes. It just adds to the very real sense of confusion and incompetence.

Across Bradford, families continue to be deeply worried about their energy bills, their mortgages and their pensions. Debt borrowing costs are locked in and families’ finances across the country are on the line. The Government ’s disastrous policies mean the Tories are now set to impose more cuts to public services on top of a decade of neglect.

They promised us prosperity, but after 12 years they have given us stagnation. In the last week, they have shown us that the Conservatives can no longer be trusted with our nation’s economy.

When I speak to businesses in my constituency about what they need to in order to grow, they don’t mention tax cuts for the highest earners – instead they want energy security, skilled workers, well-connected cities, and reform to the outdated business rates system. Labour listens to business, to trade unions and to workers, and that’s why this week we announced our plans to deliver exactly these policies.

We need an energy sector that delivers for the public first, not solely for its shareholders. For months, Labour has been calling for a windfall tax on the record profits that energy companies freely admit they are making while wholesale prices are high.

Those are profits that should be going back into the UK to boost our energy security and supporting people with the cost of living this winter, not lost as shareholder dividends.

That’s why last week, Labour leader Keir Starmer announced that he would create the publicly owned Great British Energy in Labour’s first year in Government.

The company will return profits directly back into the United Kingdom to keep our bills down, create jobs, and invest in new renewable energy sources, so that the country is more energy independent with less reliance on foreign supply.

We need to make sure that we have stronger energy security to protect our energy supply and protect bill payers from the shocks of significant international events, such as Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Labour will reform the business rates systems which stops entrepreneurs in Bradford from paying taxes that online giants avoid, and we will nationalise the railways on contract renewals to reverse the trend of higher ticket prices for worse delivery and ensure all investment goes back into creating a network fit for the 21st century.

I am continuing to pressure the Government to make sure we finally deliver on the rail infrastructure we need to connect our Northern towns and cities. It is time the Government invests in the north and gives my constituents and future generations the opportunities they deserve.


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