Tory Britain: rampant inflation, and a sustained squeeze on all our finances.

8 Nov 2022

Jeremy Hunt's first budget as Chancellor was bleak to say the least. The OBR has forecast that the next two years will see the biggest fall in household incomes in generations. The economy is likely to fall into recession in the last quarter of 2022 and is predicted by the Bank of England to remain in recession until 2024 - the longest recession since records began a century ago - alongside rising unemployment and more tax. It was a budget storing up trouble for the future, heavily back-loading the vast majority of spending cuts for after April 2025. Delaying all of the really difficult spending decisions until after the next general election stretches credibility and simply loads up a big set of problems for the next government in office.

The budget painted a bleak picture for the UK - it is going to be an incredibly hard year ahead for families across the country as inflation, more tax, below-inflation wage increases and rising unemployment results in less and less income for households to survive on - and that is no different here in Bromley. Research undertaken by economists at the University of Warwick indicates that even with the Government's support for energy bills, that the average household in Bromley will see an increase of £1762 per year in their energy bills. Overall, UK inflation was running at 11.1% in October (compared to 7.7% in the US and 6.2% in France), so that significant rise in energy bills sits alongside increases in the cost of food, clothes, housing, running a car and many other day-to-day costs faced by households - and those price rises are higher in the UK than in many other countries. We are set for a significant and sustained squeeze on all our finances.

What is particularly frustrating is that this budget offered no hope, no direction, no long term plan for growth - just pain stretching out for years to come. After the Conservative's disastrous mini-budget (which resulted in higher mortgage rates and increased the cost of government borrowing), this budget replaced it with austerity 2.0 - brutal cuts, more tax and a sustained recession.

The UK economy is the only G7 economy still smaller than it was pre-pandemic, and it looks likely that it will remain smaller until at least 2024. This was the budget of a tired, directionless government - we face more taxes and brutal cuts to already stretched public services such as our hospitals, schools, court system and care homes. This is not short-term pain; it is long term with no plan for a brighter, fairer, or greener future. The Conservatives have mismanaged our economy for too long, and we are all paying the price for their incompetence.

That being said local councils can help local residents by taking decisive action. We want Bromley Council to help us all save on energy costs, by working with the Government to help people in Bromley to access funds to insulate their homes better. Economists at the University of Warwick estimate that better insulation could reduce energy consumption in residential buildings in Bromley by 31%, equal to 144000 tons of CO2 per year. It is a win-win: lowering energy bills for residents and reducing our carbon footprint at the same time. This is something Liberal Democrat Councillors will push for at every opportunity during Bromley Council's deliberations. Insulation should be a cross-party priority - good for our pockets and good for the environment.

If you want us to continue to argue for better insulation of Bromley homes and against Tory economic mismanagement nationally, join the Liberal Democrats today or sign up to our newsletters and join our fight to build a brighter future for all.

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