Lib Dems call for £3bn mortgage protection fund to help families with 'Tory property premium'

The Liberal Democrats have called for the creation of a £3bn mortgage protection fund to assist families who are seeing their repayments soar.

In a keynote speech on Sunday afternoon, party leader Sir Ed Davey said his proposal would mean homeowners who see their repayments increase by more than 10% of their income are able to apply for grants of up to £300 a month to cover the costs.

He said the move would be paid for by reversing cuts to taxes on banks dating back to 2016 and is necessary because millions of homeowners are paying a "Conservative property premium" as a result of the "chaos" caused by the Truss government's tax-cutting mini-budget.

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Sir Ed said homeowners should not have to pay the bill for the "mess" created by former PM Liz Truss and her chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng's fiscal plans.

The Lib Dem leader argued that the Tories do not have a "shred of credibility" after the economic turmoil since September, and also reiterated his call for an immediate general election.

"Instead of tackling the cost of living crisis seriously, they chose to treat the British economy as their own personal playground - using people as playthings in their reckless game of fantasy economics," he said.

'Tories are party of chaos'

"Just look at the damage," he continued. "Millions of families struggling to pay a Conservative property penalty, every single month.

"Never again can the Conservatives claim to be the party of homeowners. Never again can they claim to be the party of business. Never again can they claim to be the party that balances the books.

"The Conservatives are the party of chaos."

He continued: "After inflicting so much chaos and damage, the Conservatives want the rest of us to pay to clear up their mess. They're like bank robbers asking for a loan to buy the getaway car."

His speech comes as Rishi Sunak's government are preparing to deliver a budget later this month, which is likely to contain both tax rises and spending cuts to address what the Resolution Foundation think tank have predicted is a £40bn black hole in the public finances.

Sir Ed makes case for windfall tax

It has been reported that Mr Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt are considering expanding the windfall tax on oil and gas companies' profits in the autumn budget on 17 November by increasing the rate from 25% to 30% and extending it until 2028.

The Times has reported the policy will also be extended to cover electricity generators.

Sir Ed said events in Ukraine had only strengthened his party's argument for the government to extend the windfall tax on the "record" profits of the oil and gas companies.

"The case for our windfall tax has only got stronger, as those profits have soared even higher for one main reason - a brutal dictator spilling innocent Ukrainian blood," he told the audience of Liberal Democrat party members.

"There are no arguments left. The right thing to do - the fair thing to do - is to tax those blood-oil profits."

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The Liberal Democrat leader also suggested that Mr Sunak is afraid to call a general election as he knows the Conservative Party would lose.

In a direct message to the PM, he said: "Your government does not have a shred of credibility left. It does not have a shred of legitimacy left. If you had a shred of integrity left, you would call a general election now."

Sir Ed was supposed to deliver his autumn speech at the Liberal Democrat's annual conference in September, however this was cancelled due to the period of national mourning following the death of the Queen.