Catherine West MP
Catherine West MP

Here’s my latest column for the Ham & High, published on 8 June.  Read it online here or below:

“We’re in the worst cost-of-living crisis in a generation.  Even with Mr Sunak’s announcement that government will step in to help consumers suffering the most expensive gas and electricity bills on record, local charity Food Bank Aid tell me they’re now supporting 10,000 people, including 3,500 children each week who can’t afford food.  My advice surgeries are full of desperate people trying, and too often failing, to make ends meet.

This sadly isn’t even the worst of it.  Ofgem say energy bills will rise by another £800 this winter, just as the weather gets colder.  Without a radical plan, millions more hard-pressed Brits will go from “just about managing” to sinking.

It is the role of Government to protect its people in dark times, yet in Downing Street we have a Tory Government led by a man who for months refused to act as people fell into poverty.  A man whose failed Brexit has only made our economic troubles worse, presiding over a government who said dodgy loans and Tesco value were the answer to people worried about paying their bills.

For five months Labour called for a windfall tax on the energy giants whose own leaders were saying they had more money than they knew what to do with.  We even forced a vote in Parliament, which the Tories voted against.  It is shameful that Johnson has only been dragged kicking and screaming to this obvious solution, not because of a rush of compassion but because he wanted to get Sue Gray’s critical report off the front pages.  In the time they’ve wasted, families have forked out an astronomical £16.5 billion in energy bills.

If only our Prime Minister and his team devoted the same energy to standing up for British people as they do to “wine time Fridays”.  Tory MPs seek to brush off Partygate, now saying the focus should be on the cost-of-living crisis they’ve spent the last five months ignoring.  But the two issues are linked because they go to the heart of Johnson’s character.  A man who’s made a career out of lying to save his own skin, shown no concern for people’s sacrifices during the pandemic and who delayed helping struggling families in favour of sending Ministers out to protect “Big Dog”.

I’m relieved the Tories have finally admitted they were wrong on a windfall tax.  Now they need to admit they were wrong on their choice of Leader, get Johnson out and put the rest of Labour’s recovery plan into action.”



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