South Shields and Jarrow MPs react to Chancellor's plans to tackle cost of living crisis, branding Government 'shameful' and 'out of touch'

South Tyneside MPs have branded the Government's cost of living announcement as ‘shameful’ and ‘out of touch’ after the Chancellor revealed new plans to tackle rising costs.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the plans, which include a windfall tax on energy companies, a £400 discount on energy bills in October and a further £650 payment for the poorest households, in the House of Commons on Thursday, May 26.

But South Tyneside MPs believe more needs to be done.

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Jarrow MP Kate Osborne said: “This U turn on a windfall tax from the Government is just not enough. It is shameful that it has taken this long for the Government to act when the cost of living crisis has been hitting Jarrow constituents hard for a number of months. People will get help with less than half of the increase to energy prices.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak

“This temporary targeted levy isn’t enough. We need public ownership of energy and we need to change the way energy is charged – at the moment the lowest paid who use the least electricity pay the most per unit for their electricity on pre-payment meters – whilst the heaviest users get bulk discount.

“This package does not help people put food on the table, a one off payment does not deal with a cost of living crisis, inflation at record high and the huge increase in food costs. For low-income and middle earners this announcement does nothing and Rishi Sunak has failed to uprate benefits to meet inflation – overall this is too little and too late."

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck also slammed the Government for being ‘out of touch’.

She said: “The Labour Party called for a windfall tax on oil and gas companies five months ago, today the Chancellor finally implemented Labour’s plans. But why did the government need to be dragged kicking and screaming to help families being plunged into poverty because of soaring bills?

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck.

“Every day this Tory Government chose to dither and delay, they added £53million to household bills. They are out of touch with the needs of our country.”

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Others in the North East have also been reacting to the news.

Amanda Bailey, director of the North East Child Poverty Commission, said: “Families across the North East will be relieved the Government has today recognised the urgency of the cost of living crisis, and the need to act now rather than keep waiting until the Autumn.

‘The majority of support announced today will be targeted at those on the lowest incomes who are at the very sharpest end of soaring household bills. The decision to deliver most of these measures as cash payments directly to families is also welcome, as the most dignified way of providing targeted support. However, the flat rate of support provided to households completely fails to recognise the additional costs of having children.

Kate Osborne MP
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“And, whilst this has dealt with the immediate crisis facing families, the reality is that almost two in five children across our region were growing up in poverty even before we went into the pandemic, with families struggling to make ends meet well before Covid and the current cost of living crisis.

"This has left people with absolutely no financial buffer to cope with financial shocks, and it is time to fundamentally rethink the level of support families with children receive.’