MP COLUMN: Ministers need to act quickly for the common good
Ministers always want to look like they are in charge of events, but they are often buffeted by emergencies and have to adapt quickly or the people they serve suffer needlessly. And then there can be clashes between agreed plans and new events.
Such is the crisis now facing the Government and, much more importantly, very many of the people I represent in North Tyneside.
The swirl in global energy markets has hiked gas prices at the same time as the Government is cutting Universal Credit by £20 a week and also increased national insurance payments from next year. It amounts to a triple whammy.
Those earning £18,000 and on Universal Credit will lose £1,100 a year as we face a 13% increase in our gas bills.
It is estimated that half a million families will be plunged into fuel poverty given the high proportion spent on energy bills by the least well paid.
It will be a winter of discontent unless we have firm ministerial action.
The Government is rightly working to ensure gas supplies. But they have to do more in this unique situation.
They should scrap the cut in Universal Credit, which was increased to recognise extra hardships under Covid-19. They should accept Labour’s advice and also increase the minimum wage to £10 an hour.
Ministers may not be entirely to blame for this perfect storm, but they will carry the can if they fail to be flexible to defend the growing and urgent needs of hard-working people.
They need to pull their finger out and act quickly for the common good.