Cost of living crisis: Labour set to force Commons vote calling for emergency budget

·2-min read
Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves asks: ‘Where is the urgency?’  (Getty)
Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves asks: ‘Where is the urgency?’ (Getty)

Labour is set to force a vote challenging Boris Johnson’s government to bring forward an emergency Budget to tackle the cost of living crisis.

It comes amid mounting calls for the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, to set out further measures to alleviate the impact of rising food prices and energy bills on households, with inflation already at a 30-year high.

The Bank of England has predicted inflation could soar above 10 per cent, and on Wednesday new data from the Office for National Statistics is expected to show that inflation hit 9.1 per cent in the year to April.

In recent weeks, opposition parties at Westminster, trade unions and business leaders have called for an emergency Budget, with Labour’s shadow chancellor asking: “Where is the urgency and action to remedy this?”

Just last week, however, cabinet minister Michael Gove dismissed the calls, saying there “won’t be an emergency Budget”, but echoed comments from the prime minister that more support may come in the coming months.

Seeking to raise the issue again, Labour will table an amendment to the Queen’s Speech on Wednesday – after the inflation figures measured by the Consumer Prices Index are published.

While the measure is unlikely to pass – given the prime minister’s 80-strong majority – it will be an opportunity for Labour to put ministers and Tory MPs on the spot over the issue of an emergency Budget.

The party’s amendment expresses regret at the omission of an emergency Budget from the Queen’s Speech, “or to set out a new approach to the economy that will end 12 years of slow growth and high taxation under successive Conservative governments”.

Ahead of a debate in the chamber, Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, said: “Our country faces a cost of living crisis and a growth crisis. Wages are being squeezed, our tax system is unfair, and there is no plan for the future of our economy.

“None of this is inevitable, but a consequence of government policies and Conservative choices. Where is the urgency and the action to remedy this?”

She added: “Labour has a new vision for a fairer and more prosperous economy. That’s why the Conservatives must back our motion today, not just for them to come forward with an emergency Budget to tackle the cost of living crisis, but to set out the plan Britain deserves and get our economy firing on all cylinders.”

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