Lib Dem Councillors brand Chancellor’s Spring statement as ‘failed opportunity’

Responding to the spring statement delivered by the Chancellor earlier today, councillors are highlighting the lack of meaningful support to address the cost of living crisis, which is turning into an emergency.


“At the start of the year, there were already serious concerns about the rising cost of living. This has been further exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, and April will signal the next stage in this cost of living crisis, as not only the cost of energy and essentials increase but so do taxes.


“This current cost of living crisis is turning into an emergency. The spring statement could have started to address the underlying pressures on family budgets, and small businesses, but the Chancellor has failed to grasp the opportunity. He has failed to move beyond tinkering around the edges at a time when so many families and businesses need real action.


“We welcome the fuel duty cut, employment allowance increase, household support fund extension and the increase of the national insurance tax thresholds. However, this will not go anywhere near to the support that is needed urgently. The stark figures buried in the small print of today’s Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) report accompanying the Spring Statement show that in reality Rishi Sunak’s tax hikes will lead to a £44 billion bombshell by 2024, equivalent to almost £1,600 per UK household.


“What was missing in today’s statement was real action on supporting struggling households, such as the reversal of the planned tax hikes, introduction of a windfall tax, an increase in universal credit and comprehensive targeted support schemes. Or even one of these measures. Instead, the Chancellor has chosen to cut income tax rate while raising NI rate, only driving a further wedge between taxation of unearned income and earned income. This will do nothing to benefit those needing support most.


“Businesses are facing horrendous cost pressures and an uncertain future. The current trajectory of inflation poses an existential threat to independent retailers around the UK. As staff payroll costs are rising, so the chancellor should have listened and delayed the rise in employers’ national insurance, extended business rate reductions and a delay to VAT's planned return to 20% in April from 12.5%.


“In the absence of Government support, it will up to customers to do whatever they can to support our local businesses. So I would encourage all to shop local and support our amazing independent businesses across York.


“We will continue to work closely with businesses to monitor the situation and provide any assistance and support we can. I would encourage businesses to contact the Council on [email protected] if there are issues that need to be taken up regarding the recent announcements.”

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