The Chancellor’s spring statement was a bitter disappointment for those looking for a helping hand to combat soaring cost of living.
Munira has slammed Wednesday’s spring statement as a missed opportunity to help families who are struggling under the cost of living crisis.
Households across the country were already feeling the pain of growing inflation, rising food costs and soaring energy prices. But those who thought help might be on the way were bitterly disappointed by Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s spring statement.
In fact, the Resolution Foundation estimates that Rishi Sunak’s spring statement will push 1.3m people – including half a million children – into poverty. Meanwhile, the foundation says that seven out of eight workers will be paying more income tax and National Insurance in 2024/25 as a result of the spring statement.
“People across the country were looking to Rishi Sunak for a helping hand in facing this once-in-a-generation cost of living crisis,” says Munira. “Instead, it looks like we will all be worse off, and sadly it will be those who are worse off already that will be hardest hit. It is a missed opportunity on a massive scale.”
Munira also pointed out the lack of support for children, parents and schools in the spring statement.
“I am particularly appalled that there was no mention of children and parents in the statement,” says Munira. “Childcare costs are spiralling and there is £10 billion still missing from catch-up funding for schools, but there was no mention of this and nothing to stop budget cuts to schools. It just goes to show that children and parents are always an afterthought, if a thought at all, for this Government.”
To combat the cost of living crisis, Liberal Democrats have called for measures including:
- Reducing the standard rate of VAT from 20% to 17.5% for one year. This would save households £600 on average.
- Supporting the economy by boosting spending on local high streets. The proposals would also be expected to keep inflation down by making the prices of everyday items lower than they would have been.
- Introducing a Robin Hood tax on oil and gas barons’ massive profits.
- Using proceeds from the windfall tax to: Double the Warm Home Discount and extend it to everyone on Pension Credit and Universal Credit; double the Winter Fuel Allowance; roll out an emergency home insulation programme; and support small businesses in energy-intensive industries.
- Re-instating the £1,000 boost to Universal Credit – and making it permanent. The Liberal Democrats are also calling on the Chancellor to raise benefits in line with the true level of inflation – currently at 6.2% – rather than a paltry 3.1%.
In Munira’s constituency, Citizens Advice Richmond has found that nearly 1 in 9 people in Twickenham are unable to pay their energy bills without cutting back on essential spending.
“We may live in one of London’s most affluent boroughs, but many Twickenham residents are living on the edge,” she added. “Whatever our financial circumstances, most of us are noticing the impact in our weekly food shop or heating bills. For people whose budgets are already stretched, the Government’s spring statement is a cruel blow.”
Need help? See below for how to access cost of living help, support and advice:
Cost of living crisis: Resources, support and advice
There are numerous organisations at the local and national level that provide advice, support, grants, vouchers and other forms of assistance for those who are struggling financially.
Local support in Richmond Borough
Richmond Council provides information on how to get help making energy saving improvements to your home. Find out more here.
In addition, Richmond Council provides numerous resources on council, government and community schemes that can help with the cost of food and household items. Visit the Richmond Council website here for full details on the below:
- Citizens Advice Richmond: Offers specialist advice on a range of issues, and hardship grants on behalf of other local funders and food vouchers.
- Richmond AID: Specialist benefits advice for people with disabilities.
- COVID-19 Hardship Fund: Can help households by providing support with groceries in the form of supermarket vouchers.
- Community Meals Service: A home meal service, particularly for those who are unable to cook for themselves.
- Food for Thought Heathfield: Offering surplus food from local retailers at a pop-up market stall on Heathfield Recreation Ground.
- Local Assistance Scheme: For those residents in receipt of welfare benefits, there are crisis grants available to help with essentials.
- No recourse to Public Funds Hardship Fund: For Richmond residents whose income has been affected by COVID-19 and have no recourse to public funds.
- Richmond Food Bank: Five food distribution points in and near the borough. You need a food voucher to get provisions from the Food Bank.
- RUILS: Providing support for adults and children with disabilities.
- Hampton Fund: Can help with fuel grants if you live in Hampton, Hampton Hill, Hampton Wick, Teddington, Twickenham and Whitton.
- The Real Junk Food Project: Turns surplus food from local retailers into meals they serve at their café. Open to anyone. Pay what you wish.
National support and resources
- Winter Fuel Payment: Find out if you are eligible here.
- National Energy Action (NEA): For advice and support for heating your home, click here or call 0800 304 7159. For steps to help you manage your energy bills and keep your home warm this winter, click here.
- Smart Energy GB: For tips on how to make small changes to improve the energy efficiency of your home, click here. To find out how to use a smart meter to save money, click here.
- Simple Energy Advice: For advice on how to reduce your energy bills, make your home warmer, plan home improvements and make your home greener, click here.
- Step Change Debt Charity: For expert debt advice and money guidance help, click here.
- National Debtline: For free independent debt advice, click here or call 0808 808 4000.
- The Money Advice Service: For free money advice to help improve your finances, click here or call 0800 138 7777.