Recent figures on the state of the economy show that the Conservative Chancellor’s plans are not working. Blaming the problems in the economy on warm summer weather or the Royal Wedding are poor excuses, particularly when local people are losing their jobs.
George Osborne has made cuts too far and too fast and has no plans for jobs or growth. The economic recovery that started under Labour has been choked off by these reckless cuts.
Families, pensioners and businesses locally are feeling the pain of tax rises and spending cuts that go too deep. Many constituents tell me of their worries about the increase in VAT, cuts to police and the NHS and the loss of jobs. The Chancellor is gambling with the economy and his decisions are affecting peoples’ lives.
Labour has argued for months that we need a VAT cut to put £450 back into each family to help them cope with the increased prices of food, petrol, gas and electricity.
A recent poll showed that people are most concerned about electricity and gas prices and the price of petrol. British Gas has announced a price hike of between 16% and 18%, an average increase of £190 per year. The scale of the price rises show that the Liberal Democrat Energy Minister is not acting to ensure fairer prices, as the Prime Minister had promised.
The Conservative-led Government is clearly out of touch with peoples’ every-day concerns. This has been shown by the Business Secretary Vince Cable’s recent announcement of changing regulations to allow young people to buy Christmas crackers at age 12 and to relax the laws on selling chocolate liqueurs. We need policies that deal with rising fuel prices and that support growth and jobs more than changes on how Christmas crackers and chocolates are sold.