Burnley Labour leader and town's Tory MP 'want more' from Chancellor

The Labour leader of Burnley Council has branded Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s spring statement as being “full of empty soundbites”, while the town’s Tory MP said he would be pushing the Chancellor to “go further” to help the borough’s poorest residents.

By Dominic Collis
Thursday, 24th March 2022, 4:04 pm

The Chancellor set out his spending plans yesterday as the country faces an unprecedented cost of living crisis with energy and petrol bills soaring to record levels, with many families struggling to make ends meet.

Measures set out by the Chancellor include reducing and reforming taxes by:

Slashing fuel duty by 5p for twelve months, delivering a £5 billion tax cut for drivers.

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LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – MARCH 23: Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak leaves 11 Downing Street for the House of Commons to deliver his Spring Statement on March 23, 2022 in London, England. Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to deliver the Spring Statement at the House of Commons as UK inflation hits a 30-year high amid escalating cost of living crisis. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Rising the National Insurance personal threshold from £9,500 to £12,570 from July,

But Burnley Council leader, Labour Coun. Afrasiab Anwar, described Mr Sunak’s statement as “full of empty soundbites.”

He said: “The Chancellor has shown with his spring statement that he is a reflection of this government. Full of empty soundbites and lacking in substance.

"While on the surface the announcements promise much, they deliver very little, especially for those hardest hit by the rise in the cost of living.

"To use one example, the 5p cut in fuel duty will make very little difference to those most in need and there is no way of ensuring the saving will be passed on to the consumer.

"The photo op on the forecourt gone wrong, shows how out of touch he is with the public. An increase in the household support fund is welcome but he could have gone further by increasing support for those on Universal Credit.

"While some middle earners will benefit from some of the announcements the most vulnerable will be left facing some really tough choices.”

Burnley’s Tory MP Antony Higginbotham, meanwhile, said he wanted to see his party going even further.

He said: “Residents are rightly concerned with the cost of living, the impact of the Ukraine conflict and spikes in global inflation being felt by all of us, and that's what the Chancellor's statement was about. Our focus has to be making sure people keep more of the money they earn now, as we also move towards a country of lower taxation overall.

“The Chancellor has announced a cut in fuel duty, directly reducing the cost at the pump.

"Tax on wages is going to reduce too, with the personal tax allowance of what people can earn without paying any tax increasing by £3,000 this year. That means most residents will keep more of what they earn. In the longer term, income tax is being reduced too. Businesses will benefit too, with incentives to create jobs so our local economy continues to bounce back strongly.

“I want to see us going even further though, taking far less from people of what they earn, and will be making this point forcibly to the Chancellor on behalf of residents ahead of the autumn budget this year.

“For those who need extra help now, I’ll be encouraging the council to adapt its criteria for the Household Support Fund - which has just doubled in size - to help as many people as possible now.”