Britain can no longer afford another Christmas under this Tory government, writes Lib Dem MP Sarah Olney

21 December 2023, 00:02 | Updated: 21 December 2023, 06:52

The Lib Dem's Sarah Olney has slammed the Government for its 'failure' to tackle the cost-of-living crisis
The Lib Dem's Sarah Olney has slammed the Government for its 'failure' to tackle the cost-of-living crisis. Picture: Getty/LBC
Sarah Olney

By Sarah Olney

Christmas is meant to be a time for celebration with close friends and family, yet this year, the festive period is set to see millions of households forced into cutbacks to save money.

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This is heart-breaking, and leads to the question as to whether after four years of this Conservative Government, is anyone better off?

Recent polling has shown that over half of UK adults are set to be shopping at a cheaper supermarket this Christmas to save money, with 55% of those with children under the age of 18 set to buy fewer presents for loved ones because of a squeeze on their family budgets.

Yet, it is not just festive purchasing that people are cutting back on.

Everyday costs have skyrocketed due to persistently high inflation which Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt have failed to control.

Across the country, families are now seeing higher prices at the petrol pump and facing soaring energy bills, whilst still facing the disastrous consequences of Liz Truss’ disastrous mini budget which sent mortgage rates sky high.

Almost 200,000 households this month alone will get hit with higher mortgage payments when their fixed rate deals expire.

Despite this, there seems to be a complete failure of understanding in Downing Street about what ordinary families are currently facing.

Rather than take clear and decisive measures to reduce costs for households, such as giving struggling families more help with their energy bills or to tackling petrol profiteering, this Conservative Government has chosen to give a tax cut to the big banks while failing to close loopholes in the windfall tax on oil and gas giants.

Worse still, claims to be cutting taxes in the Autumn Statement were quickly proven to be deceptive, as the Chancellor chose to keep income tax thresholds frozen until 2028.

As a result of this stealth tax, this year alone 3.2m people have been dragged into paying income tax, while 2.2m have been dragged into the higher 40p band.

The hit to household income resulting from this decision will far outweigh any changes to National Insurance made by the Chancellor last month.

So, what is to be done?

Politics is about choices, and the Liberal Democrats have consistently stood up against this Government in calling for more action to be taken to address the cost of living.

Whether it be targeted financial support for those struggling to pay their mortgage, paid for by reversing the Government's tax cuts for big banks; further schemes to help keep homes warm this winter; investment in British farmers to bring down food prices; or an unwavering commitment to the ‘triple lock’ on pensions, we are proud to be standing up for hard-pressed households.

Yet, until this out of touch Prime Minister is removed from office, we can only go so far.

So, as we step into the new year, the choice is clear.

After four long years, it is time to make sure this is the last Christmas with this failed Conservative Government in power.