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It comes as Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, prepares to table an amendment to the Queen’s Speech on Tuesday, urging MPs of all political stripes to back a tax on the extraordinary profits of energy companies.
The government is facing intense pressure over the issue, and last week Boris Johnson did not rule out a windfall tax, despite repeating his view it would deter green investment after months of resistance.
But highlighting forecasts produced by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) at the spring statement on savings ratios, Labour said that ministers needed to “wake up” to the cost-of-living crisis and back a windfall tax.
The OBR said at the time the ‘saving ratio’ — the ratio households are saving relative to their disposable income — is expected “to continue to fall and reach a record low of 2.8 per cent by the start of 2023”.
They added: “In practice the lower savings ratio will reflect some households running down excess savings while others take on more debt.
“The savings ratio then climbs moderately over the rest of our forecast back towards its pre-pandemic level of a little under five per cent.”
Labour also claimed the decline in the savings ratio from from 8 per cent to an average of 4 per cent represented a reduction in savings for a median household of over £1,000.
Abena Oppong-Asare, the shadow exchequer secretary to the Treasury, said: “The cost-of-living crisis is hitting people hard, and savings are being crunched or disappearing altogether. The Tory government could not be more out of touch or out of ideas.
“As energy bills rise by record amounts for millions of families, the prime minister continues to refuse to back a windfall tax on oil and gas producer profit that could tackle the cost-of-living crisis.”
She added: “Today, Labour will give this Conservative government another chance to support our windfall tax on oil and gas producer profirs to cut our bills by up to £600.”
A Treasury spokesperson said: “We understand that people are struggling with rising prices, and while we can’t shield everyone from the global challenges we face, we’re supporting British families to navigate the months ahead with a £22bn package of support.
“This includes 30 million people getting a £6bn tax cut worth up to £330 a year from July, millions of households receiving up to £350 each to help with rising energy bills through our £9.1bn support package, and a cut in the universal credit taper rate helping over a million families keep around an extra £1,000 a year.”