Chancellor fails to address multiple crises in Spring statement - column by Alistair McQuillan, member of the Rutland and Melton

We have all known for months that urgent action is needed to address the multiple crises being faced by millions of people and businesses across our country, struggling to pay their bills and keep the lights on.

By David Philip
Wednesday, 6th April 2022, 2:40 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th April 2022, 2:42 pm
Chancellor Rishi Sunak (picture: Getty Images)
Chancellor Rishi Sunak (picture: Getty Images)

We have all known for months that urgent action is needed to address the multiple crises being faced by millions of people and businesses across our country, struggling to pay their bills and keep the lights on.

In the spring statement, the chancellor had the opportunity to address these. Instead, he turned a blind eye and looked after the interest of fossil fuel companies and his backbench MPs.

By once again burying his head in the sand, Rishi Sunak has stored up even greater problems, that will come back to bite our economy in the months and years ahead.

We are facing the worst cost of living crisis on record ever. In one of the wealthiest countries, it is negligence in the extreme for the government to step aside while over a million will be plunged into poverty, with millions more in fuel poverty, having to choose between putting food on their table or heating their home in the coming months.

This crisis will affect our local businesses across the board too, in a vicious circle that will severely damage our local economy in the long term.

This is a government failing in its first duty, to keep its citizens safe, by not stepping in and helping families and businesses that are struggling today, but simply trying to wish away the problems.

Two years ago the chancellor said he would ‘stand by business’. His spring statement shows that he has abandoned that promise.

Hiking hospitality VAT by 60% overnight in the middle of a crisis is reckless and shortsighted, this one move alone will result in more closures, more redundancies and long-term damage to our communities and local economy.

The Green Party has repeatedly called for a ‘Dirty Profits Tax’ on the excessive profits from UK oil and gas extraction, and to use this money to provide proper support for every household, particularly those who need it most.

Instead, the chancellor has turned a deaf ear to the pleas of those on the lowest incomes, ignored the plight of those on benefits, abandoned business and has done next to nothing to tackle the climate crisis.

These problems are not new, analysts have been issuing warnings for months about these looming crises.

This government must take responsibility for its complete failure to plan for a scenario that has been coming down the tracks.