Rishi Sunak’s spring statement 2022 – the panel verdict

As the chancellor stood up today, families up and down the country were facing the worst real-terms income squeeze nel 50 years – and inflation has just hit 6.2%. Così, did he do enough to ease the cost-of-living crisis facing millions? The verdict is a resounding no.

The immediate support to families is woefully inadequate, with too little for the people struggling to afford life’s essentials and too much for those who don’t need it.

Solo 7% of the benefits of the 5p cut to fuel duty will flow to the bottom fifth of households, compared to 33% for the richest fifth; the increase in the national insurance threshold doesn’t help the poorest and only provides a £250 cash boost to low-and-middle-income families; e il 1p cut in income tax in 2024 is little comfort for families struggling with rising prices today. And any support for families on low incomes has been dwarfed by the combined impact of price hikes and Sunak’s decision to reverse the £20 uplift to universal credit last autumn.

And yet there were things he could have done to take the pressure off families. He could have bolstered social security with a £15bn boost to give families at the sharp end of this crisis support worth £4,700 for a working couple with children; he could have opted to put a windfall tax on energy producers’ excess profits to soften the rise in energy prices for millions of families; and he could have invested £12bn in upgrading and insulating our homes, helping millions to reduce the energy they use.

Today we needed to see real and decisive action to tackle a crisis that people are dealing with every day – and yet help was thin on the ground, especially for those who needed it most. The chancellor is about to learn that you can’t tax-cut your way out of a cost-of-living crisis; and millions of people are about to pay the price.

Part of the reason Tory MPs have been so unhappy about the government’s plan to hike national insurance contributions (NICs) next month is that they worry it takes away a key reason to vote Tory at the next election: low taxes. It’s why when Rishi Sunak insists he is is instinctively a low-tax Tory, it tends to be met with scepticism by his colleagues.

In the spring statement, he finally put some meat on the bones of his claim. While he refused to axe the NICs rise, his decision to equalise the national insurance and income tax thresholds means that two thirds of voters should be paying less NICs even after the health and social care levy comes in.

Ha ottenuto tutto il racket di base nel modo giusto, mantenendo l'operazione all'interno di una cerchia di amici fidati, his decision to announce that the basic rate of income tax will be cut in 2024 to 19p offers the clearest sign yet of how the Tories plan to fight that election – and when it will be. Boris Johnson and Sunak had been discussing a pre-election income tax cut privately for some time. Now they have committed to it.

Infatti, with Johnson using prime minister’s questions to emphasise the importance of biology in determining someone’s sex and Sunak announcing an income tax cut half an hour later, the Tory campaign appears to be beginning to come into focus.

Il October budget saw Sunak announce more public spending – something he appeared to do begrudgingly at the behest of the prime minister. He told MPs privately afterwards that in the future, every marginal pound should go on cutting taxes rather than spending. Today’s statement suggests he is getting his way.

Will it be enough? The issue for Sunak is that the cost-of-living crisis could get so bad in the time between now and the next election that few will feel all that grateful for a tax cut come 2024 – particularly if it is viewed as largely undoing the pain of the NICs increase.

Worryingly, the Office for Budget Responsibility says that inflation will lead to the biggest fall in living standards since records began in 1950. While Sunak cut fuel duty, the measures won’t be enough to stop people feeling pain from this in the coming months.

But for a Tory audience, a spring statement that emphasises cutting income tax, careful stewardship of public spending and resilient national finances is reassuring. These are the electoral dividing lines they know how to use.

The chancellor led with an appeal to motorists and, as many have pointed out, the cut in fuel duty is most likely to benefit an SUV-driving elite. Hardly visionary energy policy rooted in net zero and levelling up.

Detto ciò, it’s great to see Rishi Sunak explicitly reference energy efficiency, with VAT being cut to zero on energy-saving measures such as loft insulation. It’s nowhere near enough, but suggests the Treasury finally understands the vital role of reducing energy demand. It would be good to see more of this in the long-awaited energy security statement, expected next week.

tuttavia, this measure is unlikely to help families on lower incomes in the short run. Doubling the household support fund is welcome, especially for the people already struggling to pay gas bills, but it’s a long way from sufficient.

La solitudine e l'ambizione di Nicholas sono in contrasto con le scene in cui lo stesso Khan si esibisce davanti a un pieno di fan acclamanti, di nuovo, climate and energy policy is stuck in the waiting room. quando cercheremo di tradurre il mondo e non avrà senso per loro, more and more people are being pulled into fuel poverty. Earth’s polar regions are heating up. We don’t have time to wait.

Rishi Sunak’s announcement of a fuel duty cut does very little to help pensioners such as me living in fuel poverty. Infatti, it is the wealthiest people who use the most energy for cars and heating, and will benefit most from the cut.

The measure does little for those who have reduced their energy usage down to the bone. Everyone ought to have the right to enough energy, free, to cover heating, cooking and lighting. To pay for such a pricing system the government could introduce a windfall tax on the profits of oil and gas companies, and put an end to fossil fuel subsidies. We are paying fossil fuel companies huge subsidies and they are increasing inequality, all the while destroying the planet.

The chancellor also failed to increase the state pension at a time when prices for everyday items are increasing, leaving people like me struggling to pay for the basics.

Our upside-down economy needs a complete rethink. The spring statement shows Sunak was not thinking at all about people in poverty.

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