Hybrid proceedings in the House of Commons

Local Conservative and Liberal Democrat Response to the budget

16 March 2023

Jeremy Hunt, unveiled his spring budget. Mr Hunt said the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) now predicts the UK will avoid a technical recession

Within the Budget announced, the Government will:

  • Extend the Energy Price Guarantee at £2,500 for three months.
  • 20 hours of childcare a week to working parents of children aged 9 months to 4 years, from 2024
  • Pay Universal Credit childcare costs up front rather than in arrears.
  • Make £8.8 billion for additional local transport funding in England.
  • Introduce a £25 billion three-year tax cut for business investment.
  • Increase the annual pension allowance to £60,000 and abolish the Lifetime Allowance.
  • Establish a new Universal Support programme for disabled people and the long-term sick.
  • Abolish the Work Capability Assessment and increasing the Administrative Earning Threshold to 18 hours
  • Freeze fuel duty

Further within the chancellor’s plans £6,581,600 is being made available to fix potholes in North Yorkshire. Also benefitting from the announcements will be the 3,770 public houses and bars across Yorkshire and the Humber through Draught Relief helping the hospitality industry with higher costs.

Harrogate and Knaresborough MP, Andrew Jones, said:

The chancellor has laid out a balanced budget with a clear focus on growth and the country’s priorities.

I am pleased that the UK, according to the OBR’s prediction, will avoid a technical recession and that inflation will more than halve by the end of this year. I am pleased too the Government is extending the Energy Price Guarantee to continue to protect households from high energy costs.

It is important that it is not only households who feel the benefit of this good economic news but businesses too. That is why I welcome measures to remove the obstacles that stop businesses investing and barriers that stop people working.

Investment is key to our future growth and the chancellor announced a £25 billion three-year tax cut for business investment.

Last week in the House of Commons I raised with ministers issues around helping disabled people into work. Therefore I was encouraged by today’s announcement of the Universal Support programme in England and Wales to match people with disabilities and long-term sickness with jobs and provide support and training to help them succeed.

As a former minister in the Department for Transport I am keen to see more investment in our public transport network. The more people we can encourage to use public transport the faster we can reach our net zero targets and reduce congestion on our roads. Today’s announcement of £8.8 billion for additional local transport funding in England is a welcome step in that direction.

So a positive budget. Despite global challenges the UK economy is coping well with the pressures it is facing.

Responding to the Spring Budget today, Harrogate & Knaresborough Lib Dems have condemned the Government’s plans to increase energy bills as “so out of touch they might as well be on a different planet.”

It comes as Jeremy Hunt has confirmed that energy bills will remain at £2,500 for the next three months, meaning the typical household energy bill will be double what it was in April 2021. The Chancellor also scrapped the £400 discount on bills which all households received this winter and failed to U-turn on plans to slash energy bill support for businesses, leisure centres, schools and hospitals by 85%.

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Chancellor to cut the Energy Price Guarantee by £500 per household, funded through a proper windfall tax on the record profits of oil and gas companies. This would mean average bills would drop to £1,971 a year, with the support in place until next April.

The Liberal Democrats are also calling extra targeted support for the least well-off households, including doubling the Warm Homes Discount to £300.

Analysis from the Lib Dems based on official local electricity and gas consumption statistics show that households in Harrogate & Knaresborough would save an average of £358.79 each under the party’s plans. This would mean total savings of £24,628,246 for local families.

Commenting Tom Gordon, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Harrogate & Knaresborough said:

The Conservatives government’s choice to hike energy bills will come as a hammer blow to families in Harrogate & Knaresborough already struggling with soaring mortgages and rents, shopping bills and tax rises.

These plans will push more families into fuel poverty, while oil and gas companies making record profits are let off the hook.

The Conservatives are so out of touch they might as well be on a different planet.

In these tough times, local people deserve a proper plan to tackle this cost-of-living crisis. That means a proper windfall tax, a £500 cut to energy bills and investment in our local health services.




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