'We need a general election now' - MP slams latest economic u-turns announced by new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt
North East MPs have heaped more pressure on the Government following its latest series of u-turns.
New Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced sweeping changes to key policies previously unveiled by struggling Prime Minister Liz Truss, including proposals to cut income tax and cancelling a planned one-year freeze on alcohol duty rates.
It follows weeks of speculation about the future of Ms Truss in Downing Street in the wake of a ‘mini budget’ which was slammed as 'tax cuts for the rich and misery for everyone else' and saw the pound sink to 37-year low.
Jarrow MP Kate Osborne said: “The Chancellor has junked the entire budget announced by Kwasi Kwarteng and Liz Truss’s two-year energy support guarantee – a complete U turn and an absolute shambles.
“Just last week, during Prime Ministers Questions, Truss twice said her energy support package guarantee would last for two years, yet Hunt reduced it to six months.
“Truss is clearly not in charge.
"She has no political support and no control over her Government.
“The damage they have done will take years to recover from, the Tories are more incompetent than ever and offer no help to communities and businesses in the Jarrow constituency who are worrying about obscene bills.
“The Prime Minister’s position is untenable, they have no mandate, no plan, and no clue – we need a general election now.”
Speaking on Monday (October 17), Mr Hunt said the Government would row back on “almost all the tax measures announced in the growth plan three weeks”.
Government departments have also been told to cut costs by the new Chancellor – appointed on Friday (October 14) to replace his short-lived predecessor Kwasi Kwarteng – while the Treasury will now lead a review to find a new and cheaper way to support households with energy bills after April 2023.
The latest set of spending plans have also been criticised for doing little to reassure families already struggling to make ends meet heading into the winter.
Anna Turley, chairman of the North East Child Poverty Commission and a former Labour MP, said: “Hundreds of thousands of low income families across our region – most of whom are either in low paid work or unable to work – still do not have the certainty that the vital support they receive through social security will rise in line with prices.
"And now they face the instability of yet another hike in their energy bills from April, on top of the astronomical increases in household costs we’ve seen over the last year.
“The Chancellor must begin to put this right by urgently confirming he will raise benefits like Universal Credit by inflation, otherwise hundreds of thousands of North East families face being cut completely adrift.
"It is just unimaginable that children and young people in the North East – which already has the highest rate of child poverty in the country – could be left to pay the price of the Government’s economic incompetence.”