Over the past few months Britain has entered the worst cost of living crisis for over 20 years, according to Martin Lewis. We have witnessed sharp increases to the cost of basic goods, like food and petrol, and in the past week the situation has deteriorated further.
A huge 54% increase in the energy price cap has meant households may see bills rise by over £700 a year. Pressure at the pumps continues to build after a feeble 5 pence cut on fuel duty. And the tax burden will continue to rise for many across the UK with increases in National Insurance and Council tax, while a freeze on the income tax thresholds will also hit real incomes.
Everyone is being affected by these price increases in different ways but sadly the most vulnerable will bear the greatest burden. Wages are unlikely to rise at the same rates as inflation in key sectors and more price rises are predicted for the Autumn. We are in a real economic squeeze and the government must act before more people are forced in financial hardship.
However, this week Rishi Sunak, who should be supporting struggling households and businesses, has been embroiled in a bitter debate about the tax status of his wife. Akshata Murty claimed non-dom tax status which enabled her to legally avoid paying tax on income earned outside of the UK. This has led to important questions about whether the Chancellor’s wife should exploit such tax loopholes.
Sadly, this saga has shown Rishi Sunak to be incapable of guiding Britain through this crisis. At a time when his full focus should be protecting Britain from the price crunch, he has been defending his own household’s tax status.
Britain deserves better than a distracted Chancellor embroiled in his own scandal. We need leadership to guide our nation through these difficult times and the Conservatives are incapable of delivering this.