Jeff Smith on the Autumn Statement

Three prime ministers, four chancellors, and four budgets later, we’re facing another disastrous financial statement. After Kwasi Kwarteng’s dysfunctional budget that crashed the economy, the bar was very low for improved support for the country. But as we’re heading into an official recession after 12 years of Tory economic failure, it’s clear that we can no longer afford a Conservative Government.

With the highest tax burden placed on households since World War Two while also facing the highest rates of inflation in the G7 over 2022 and 2023, real household disposable income will fall by 7% over the next 2 years – the largest drop on record. There are, of course, global challenges to consider – but the UK has been left particularly exposed, with wage stagnation and low growth over a decade. These decisions will directly lead to falling living standards nationwide.

Energy bills will still be going up next spring, leaving far too many people wondering if they’ll have any money left at the end of the month.  Yet Rishi Sunak is persisting with the massive loopholes in his windfall tax, which amount to a huge giveaway of public money back to the very oil and gas companies making record profits. It’s not right that the Tories are still leaving money on the table when it comes to the energy giants who are making profits from war, leaving working people to foot the bill. 

The Tories will try to claim that these circumstances are inevitable and blame everyone else but themselves. But there are other options. Labour has a long-term plan we need to get our economy growing again – powered by the talent and effort of millions of working people and thousands of businesses.  We could see jobs across the country in renewables, nuclear power, in insulating homes; a modern industrial strategy working hand in hand with business; a review of business rates so our high streets thrive again; and putting skills at the heart of our plan for growth. There is no need to settle for the Tories’ weak management of the economy.

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