The cost of living is rising rapidly, but the Tories keep raising taxes, and hitting people where it hurts the most – their pockets. Yesterday, during Business Questions, I tackled the Government on this.

Across the country, people are already struggling to make ends meet. Yet the Tories think now is the right time for a tax rise, and a social security cut. The Universal Credit cut will mean more than 6 million households lose over £1000 a year, including more than 11,000 people here in Bristol West, and the Work and Pensions Secretary thinks people should just work harder to make up the difference.

This shows how out of touch the Tories really are. They’re happy to waste taxpayers’ money on contracts for their mates and raise taxes to pay for their mistakes.

The Tory tax rise to National Insurance will also cost working people hundreds of pounds a year. Although they say it will go towards social care, local authorities (that pay for social care) won’t see a penny for several years, if ever.

It’s even worse for many working parents. The Government says it wants help people back into work, but before the pandemic, nearly a million women couldn’t afford to go back to work because of the astronomical cost of childcare.

The Government are completely oblivious to the reality for millions of Britons – a full-time childcare place costs an average of £14,000. Those who work in the childcare sector are also struggling on poverty pay. The average wage in the sector is £7.42 per hour, and shamefully, one in 10 staff earn less than £5 an hour.

This Government is not on the side of parents and not on the side of childcare workers, but they want to take more money from them. This makes no sense educationally, socially, or economically.

I also reminded the Leader of the House that the pandemic is not over yet.  Over 150,000 people have died. The Government promised a covid inquiry, but still no sign of it as we head into winter. It is vital that this inquiry is brought forward urgently.  The Government must learn from the many mistakes it made over the last 18 months, to prevent even more people from suffering.

But, the government appears not to understand any of this. They don’t seem to understand their own systems let alone the impact on people’s lives.

In the Labour Party, we believe that work should be properly paid and that safety nets for people in difficulty should be really adequate – the last year has shown how almost anyone could need that emergency help at some point. We have different ideas for how to raise money for social care and other spending. This could include taxing the incomes of those who buy and sell large quantities of financial assets, stocks and shares. Unfortunately, while we have a Tory government, such progressive policies will never happen.

A Labour government would be on your side, dedicated to making sure everyone, not just the very rich, has a good quality of life.

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