South Tyneside leaders slam 'Tory failure' as 'devastating' autumn statement budget update unveiled by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt
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There was mixed news for families coping with the cost of living crisis, with the energy price cap set to rise by £300 from April but additional cost-of-living payments for the “most vulnerable”.
The rise in rents for tenants in homes owned by social housing providers, such as South Tyneside Homes, will be capped at a maximum of 7%, while the national living wage will rise by 9.7%, to £10.42, from April.
Working age and disability benefits and state pensions will increase in line with inflation, but Jarrow MP Kate Osborne accused the Government of failing the most vulnerable:
“This economic crisis is a result of 12 years of Tory failure and negligent decision making through the pandemic,” she said.
“Now Hunt and Sunak want our communities and working people to pay for the crisis they caused with a further £30 billion in public sector cuts.
“When the Chancellor said today the UK will “pay our way”, he meant our communities will pay."
Other measures announced include:
*Scrapping Vehicle Excise Duty on electric vehicles, such as the Sunderland-built Nissan Leaf, from April 2025
*Raising the windfall tax on oil and gas giants will rise from from 25% to 35%
*A 45% levy on electricity generators, expected to raise £14 billion next year
*An elected mayor for “an area in the North East”
The announcement left South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck angry.
“How dare the Chancellor speak of compassion and protecting the vulnerable?”, she said.
“Twelve years of Tory Governments have left our public services crumbling, investment down, growth failing, and wages squeezed.
“As always, he had an opportunity to tax the financial winners of the past few years to rebalance the books, but instead he has allowed non-doms and private equity giants to slip through the net and made a modest increase to a windfall tax that was Labour's policy in the first place.
“This is going to be a very difficult winter for people in South Shields. I want my constituents to know that me and my team will continue to do all we can to help you through it.”
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness accused the Chancellor of failing to end ‘a North South divide in police and public service funding’ after the financial update failed to mention funding for fighting crime.
South Tyneside Borough Council leader Coun Tracey Dixon said the statement had been ‘devastating for households who will be paying hundreds of pounds extra on their bills next year’.
She added: “Local services continue to bear the brunt of national crisis - we need certainty on long-term funding to cover increased cost pressures and rising demand.
"It leaves less in people’s pockets and households struggling.
“Let us not forget, the financial black hole in public finances was caused by the Government. Their attempt to win back market credibility is at the expense of working people and families.”