Electronic income

Don’t punish low-income families in spring statement as pressure mounts on Rishi Sunak over cost of living crisis and rising heating bills – Justine Greening

Not least because there were times in my life when I knew finding that extra amount of money would have been totally unaffordable.

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And that comes with more price hikes at the gas pump, in supermarkets and online. Things could get worse if the crisis in Ukraine pushes energy costs even higher later this year.

Pressure is mounting on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to act on the cost of living crisis in next week’s spring statement.

He points out that while our attention may be on the dire situation in Ukraine, closer to home, the rising cost of living is another acute and ongoing crisis facing Britain.

January has already seen the biggest drop in wages in real terms since 2014, according to the Office for National Statistics and with 8% inflation forecast in April, millions of families will face dire financial straits in the months ahead. . The Treasury’s initial £9billion package earlier this year to support families facing rising energy prices appears to be overtaken by events.

And while the National Insurance hike that hits us all and employers next month is to help the NHS eliminate covid-related waiting lists and longer term to pay for improved social care for adults, it couldn’t have come at a worse time for families and businesses seeing prices skyrocket across the board. There seems to be little respite ahead.

So the Chancellor’s Spring Statement next week is an important moment for action and a clear sense of short- and long-term purpose can help Mr Sunak navigate it.

Pressure is mounting on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to act on the cost of living crisis in next week’s spring statement – Justine Greening, former education secretary, writes today that the government is required to support low-income families.

Having served as Treasury Secretary in 2011, the last time the price of oil rose in line with inflation, I know how difficult these Spring Statement decisions will be. Yet supporting low-income families during this time is crucial.

I grew up in a family where we managed a tight family budget, and my parents taught me the sense of financial responsibility not to live beyond your means. While they are already doing their best to manage their finances, these economic headwinds should not push ordinary low-income families into debt.

Prevention is better than cure, so whether through additional targeted social assistance or tax changes, the Chancellor is expected to take further steps to help next week.

Let us also recognize the longer term nature of this challenge. Its impact could be to set back and damage the prospects of the very families and communities that leveling must help the most.

Pressure is mounting on Chancellor Rishi Sunak, the MP for Richmond, to act on the cost of living crisis in next week’s spring statement.

And it will also be Economic Groundhog Day, as it is always the same families and communities, generation after generation, who find themselves on the front lines with the toughest challenges when the headwinds hit.

This is because for too many people Britain remains a place where socio-economically you tend to stay where you started. The advantage accumulates, but so does the disadvantage. This is why I work so hard to improve the social mobility of our country.

And it’s not fair that just as millions of families are feeling the pinch, UK employers are also facing a skills shortage, unable to fill better paying jobs because they can’t find people with the right skills. We know it is not a lack of talent because, as ministers rightly tell us, talent is evenly distributed, but it is opportunity that is not.

This means that the best long-term strategy is to give people more control over their own lives, making the most of their potential, so that they can succeed on their own and change their own circumstances for the better.

Not all changes have to come from the government. Through my work on Commitment to Social Mobility, employers are showing that they can play a crucial role in breaking this cycle that locks people into lower paying jobs. Companies as diverse as Compass, Direct Line and Shoosmiths law firm, among many others, help talented people from all walks of life enter and integrate into their organizations, providing them with pathways for development and progression to more skilled and better paid roles and careers.

Yet while employers can play a crucial role in helping to tackle the cost of living crisis, it is undeniable that much of it is about departmental decisions.

In my Yorkshire Post column last month, I noted how the Chancellor’s November budget forced him to take key public finance decisions long before the launch of the Prime Minister’s broader leveling strategy in February. The Spring Statement is an opportunity for the government not only to help those facing inflationary pressures on household finances today, but also to set out more fundamentally its longer-term investment strategy until 2030 to achieve the goals of its leveling white paper.

The cost of living crisis may well have materialized in the recent past, but the skills shortage did not happen overnight and low social mobility has long been the status quo of our country. These are systemic issues. It is critical that next week’s Spring Statement looks beyond our current challenges, difficult as they are, and takes the necessary steps to break the cycle and reshape our system for good.

Justine Greening is a former education secretary. She was born in Rotherham.

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