Labour is calling for an emergency budget to tackle Britain’s cost of living crisis. Amid record petrol prices and soaring inflation, party leader Sir Keir Starmer accused Chancellor Rishi Sunak of “doing nothing” to address additional demands on household budgets in last month’s spring statement.
The push for an emergency fiscal event comes as the 1.25 percentage point increase in national insurance, which took effect April 6, is expected to be felt in monthly payment packages arriving this week.
Setting out his five priorities to help those feeling pressured, Sir Keir said action must be taken to reduce domestic energy bills, reduce business tariffs and remove the NI increase which is designed to fund NHS backlog reduction. caused by the Covid pandemic.
The opposition also recommended speeding up efforts to better insulate homes and tasking the National Crime Agency (NCA) with recovering billions of pounds lost to fraud.
Sir Keir said: “The Prime Minister and Chancellor have spent the last few weeks once again completely preoccupied with saving their skins, doing nothing to address the rising cost of living.
“People are working hard and getting less. This week, most people will see their wages reduced even further by a pickpocketing chancellor who is content for his family to pay less but tax more.
“Labor has put forward practical, sensible and costly measures that would bring immediate help to working people across the country.
“The government should have an emergency budget to enact them and the huge chasm left by the spring declaration.
“People need solutions, not cynicism, and now is the time to act.”
Labour is pushing for a one-off profits tax on oil and gas producers to help cut household bills by up to £600.
A VAT cut on household energy bills and an increase and expansion of the Warm Homes Discount would also help offset rising gas and electricity costs, the party said.
For businesses, Sir Keir said that if his team were in power, they would cut taxes for businesses by giving small and medium-sized businesses a discount on their business fees worth up to £5,700 this year, funded by a levy on the giant online retailers.
It would also bring in a £600m contingency fund, raised by the extraordinary tax on profits from oil and gas producers, for those industries and companies that struggle most with rising bills, such as steel and other sectors. energy-intensive.
According to the party, its policy of “rapidly increasing” home insulation would save households an average of £400 each year on energy.
And allowing the NCA to investigate the £11.8bn of taxpayer funds lost through fraud and error would mean “no more taxpayer money being thrown down the drain”, the aides argued.