Spring Statement 2022: Sheffield MPs say chancellor Rishi Sunak has failed to tackle cost of living crisis

Sheffield’s Labour MPs say chancellor Rishi Sunak has failed to address the cost of living crisis in his spring statement.

Thursday, 24th March 2022, 9:52 am

The chancellor announced he would cut fuel duty by 5p, raise the threshold at which people start paying National Insurance, and cut the basic rate of income tax.

But Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts said there was no help for households with rocketing gas and electricity bills.

“Bills will go through the roof in the next few weeks while the fat cats in the energy companies sit back and enjoy the benefits of mega profits produced by the sky-high prices the rest of us are paying. Why is there no tax on these windfall profits to reduce bills?”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Sheffield Labour MPs including Clive Betts say Chancellor Rishi Sunak has failed to address the cost of living crisis in his spring statement

Support a ‘drop in the ocean’

Sheffield Heeley MP Louise Haigh pointed to the Office of National Statistics which says inflation has risen to 6.2 per cent – the highest for 30 years – and is expected to rise further in the coming months.

She said: “This was the Chancellor’s chance to show people that he and his government are really on the side of working people and instead he squandered it.

“It was absolutely essential that he scrapped the increase in National Insurance that’s coming next month and that he backed Labour’s one-off windfall tax on oil and gas producers’ profits.

“None of this was seen, and the support offered is a drop in the ocean compared to the crisis facing families.

“The chancellor’s announcement will do nothing for many people in Sheffield. He has, once again, failed to understand the scale of the challenge that many people face.

“He needed to stand up and really listen to the problems that people are facing. His actions will push more and more children and pensioners into poverty – a damning indictment of this government’s record.”

Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough MP Gill Furniss agreed with her colleague.

“The chancellor could have supported families in Sheffield bearing the brunt of the cost of living crisis, but failed to do so.

“Living standards are falling at their fastest rate since records began but we have a chancellor missing in action while families choose between heating and eating and brace for yet another energy price rise in October.”

Olivia Blake, MP for Sheffield Hallam, said the chancellor’s statement will ‘do nothing to address the cost of living crisis or help the millions of people in our city and across the country who are struggling to make ends meet’.

She added: “There was nothing on increasing our energy security or addressing the climate emergency; no plan to bring down bills or retrofit the 19 million homes that need it; and nothing on reversing the cut to Universal Credit.

“This was not an emergency spending plan to address the multiple crises we are facing. It was a spending plan from an out of touch chancellor who would rather let oil giants profit billions than protect the millions choosing between heating their homes or putting food on the table.”

But Miriam Cates, Conservative MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge, defended the chancellor’s announcement.

She said: “This is a very welcome spring statement from the chancellor that recognises the immense strain that families and businesses are facing at the moment.

"Cutting National Insurance by making the first £12,750 of earnings tax free will leave 70 per cent of employees paying less NI, even with the Health and Care Levy included.

"That means the tax cuts are targeted at low and middle earners - the people who are facing the most pressure at the moment.

"A 5p cut in fuel duty is also great news, particularly for people across Penistone and Stocksbridge who rely on their cars to get around.

"These significant tax cuts are undoubtedly the right way forward, alongside the doubling of the Household Support Fund which is provided to local councils to support lower income families in their communities."