The household support package is a mere plaster on the UK’s cost of living says Labour’s Pat Osborne
While Rishi Sunak’s announcement of a £37bn package of household support for rocketing energy bills gave
the Tories some respite from Partygate this week, for many of those worst affected by the cost of living crisis, its impact will barely be felt at all.
October’s grant will do very little to offer respite from hardship for many on pre-paid meters, let alone replace the meals and hot showers they’ve already missed. For others the grant will offset arrears that have accumulated, effectively rechannelling cash from a windfall tax on obscene super-profits straight back into
the pockets of the oil barons and energy moguls.
Sunak is right to point to the role of a range of global factors, such as the war in Ukraine, in pushing energy prices up. But the cost of living crisis isn’t just about energy – it’s wilfully disingenuous of a man with his economic background to sidestep the plethora of homegrown factors that are contributing to it.
The package does nothing to address low pay, nothing to address the housing crisis and rising rents, nothing to insulate homes (which is the most cost- effective way of both keeping energy bills down and tackling the climate crisis), and nothing to reverse the damage of 12 years of Tory austerity on our decaying
public services. Most importantly, it does nothing to tackle privatisation and the lust for excess profits that are the root of inflation.
The Chancellor’s long-awaited answer to the cost of living crisis has been to put a sticking plaster on a gunshot wound. Like the rest of Johnson’s Government, he shows himself to be without either the imagination or integrity to act in the best interests of the country.