THE Salisbury and South Wiltshire Liberal Democrats have accused the Conservative Government of ‘incompetence and chaos’ after the Autumn Statement.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, flanked in the Commons by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and First Secretary to the Treasury and Salisbury MP John Glen, outlined plans for the economy during a speech in the House of Commons on Thursday (November 17).
Among the proposals rolled out were:
A drop in the threshold when the highest earners start paying the top rate of tax, down from £150,000 to £125,140.
Income tax, personal allowance and higher rate thresholds to be frozen until April 2028.
National Living Wage to increase to £10.42 per hour in April.
Help with energy bills will be extended in a less-generous form from April next year
An increase in a windfall tax on the profits of oil and gas companies to 35%, up from 25%.
A new temporary tax on firms that generate electricity, of 45%, will be imposed from January.
The Chancellor told the Commons the proposals were ‘fair’ and part of a ‘plan for stability’.
“I have tried to be fair by following two broad principles: firstly, we ask those with more to contribute more; and secondly, we avoid the tax rises that most damage growth,” he said.
“There is a global energy, inflation and economic crisis. But the British people are tough, inventive and resourceful… We aren’t immune to the headwinds, but with this plan for stability, growth and public services we will face into the storm,” he added.
Now, the Lib Dems in Salisbury and South Wiltshire have branded the statement the ‘cost of chaos budget’.
Parliamentary spokesperson for the Lib Dems in Salisbury, Victoria Charleston, said: “This is the ‘cost of chaos’ budget. Everyone is being forced to pay the price for this Conservative government’s incompetence.
“People in Salisbury and South Wiltshire are being asked to pick up the bill for the Conservative party crashing the economy – after 12 years in control – while oil and gas giants are left off the hook.
“People here are being forced to suffer unfair tax hikes and cuts to our public services for years to come.
“We need a fair deal, including support for people unable to afford skyrocketing mortgage bills and rents, and protecting funding for local health services.
“This could be paid for by reversing tax cuts for banks and a proper windfall tax, instead of imposing years of stealth taxes on ordinary families. This is an out of touch Government which has no plan to help people in our area with their bills.”
Labour’s shadow chancellor, Rachel Reeves said the government was ‘picking the pockets of purses and wallets of the entire country’.
She added: “The Conservatives have crashed our economy, given up on growth and sent inflation through the roof. As usual, it is ordinary working people who are paying the price.”