'Time for an emergency budget to tackle cost of living crisis'

A generic stock photo of an elderly lady adjusting her thermostat on at home in Liverpool.

Tulip Siddiq knows of pensioners who are scared of freezing because they can't afford to heath their homes - Credit: PA

Every day my inbox is flooded with emails from constituents sharing their fears about soaring energy bills, food prices and petrol costs.

I am thinking especially of those parents in my constituency who have written to me saying they are not sure how they are going to put food on the table for their children. I’m thinking too of the vulnerable pensioners who tell me they are frightened of freezing because they can’t afford to heat their homes.

It was therefore very disappointing to see the prime minister admit in a recent interview that he hasn’t done enough to alleviate the pain of the cost of living crisis. With predictions that inflation could rise to 10.2% and the government’s national insurance tax rise hitting household budgets, I worry about the devastating consequences of this neglect. 

While the prime minister may be satisfied with not doing enough to help people, my Labour colleagues and I have been pushing for an emergency budget to tackle the cost of living crisis.

Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq

Tulip Siddiq is calling for an emergency budget to help tackle the cost of living crisis - Credit: Office of Tulip Siddiq

Labour’s plans would take up to £600 off household bills, providing a lifeline for those struggling to cover basic household costs like heating, food and clothing. The emergency budget would cut taxes for businesses by giving small and medium sized enterprises a discount on their business rates bill, funded by a tax on online retail and tech giants.

Our very simple proposal to insulate two million homes a year would also save many of my constituents from cold homes and from paying more than they should be for their heating. 

The local elections in my constituency offer a glimmer of hope that things can change. However, people need practical help now and, as your MP and shadow economic secretary to the Treasury, I will continue to do everything I can to put pressure on the government to deliver precisely this financial support for my constituents.

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For the prime minister to respond to reports of a pensioner sitting on the bus all day to avoid racking up heating bills at home by boasting about the freedom bus pass shows just how out of touch he is. As people struggle to make ends meet, the government’s insulting answer seems to be to suggest that they should switch to supermarket value products and accept dodgy loans.

It is clear that government ministers are out of touch and don’t understand the very real problems that ordinary people are suffering with. We will keep pushing for practical measures from the government to tackle the cost of living crisis, starting with an emergency budget.

Tulip Siddiq (Lab) is Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn.