It’s difficult not to feel anxious when you flick on the news at the moment. Rising Gas prices, the soaring cost of living, welfare cuts and increasing taxes have left many people across the country worried about what the future holds.
The fact is, even though we look to be beyond the worst days of the pandemic, we are still as a nation in exceptionally challenging circumstances. Gas prices have risen 250% since January. This is due to several factorsincluding the global reopening of industry, a cold winter in Europe last year, and reduced gas facilities in the UK.
That’s why I have been so puzzled by the Government’s approach to managing the Gas crisis. Last weekend the Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng stated that he was in talks with the Treasury to get support for struggling businesses that rely on gas. The Treasury then denied this and claimed that they were not considering any additional support. Then, the Government released a statement saying that Mr Kwarteng’s team were working with the Treasury closely.
Confused? So am I. I can only imagine how frustrating it must be for businesses and consumers in Tameside worried about the future to be faced with indecision and bickering from the Government.
The Treasury seem to want to pretend that now we’re over the worst of the pandemic, they can walk away from people and businesses that need help. This is a big mistake. Now, more than ever, we urgently need the Government to be stepping up and providing support to help us get through this crisis. This isn’t the time to go back to politics as usual. If we want to emerge from the pandemic in a really strong position, we need the Government to be taking a proactive role to revive our economy and industries.
Here in Tameside, a significant portion of our economy relies on manufacturing. I’m really concerned that if the Government doesn’t step in and cap rising Gas prices, many businesses will simply be unable to operate. I’m also worried about people who will be looking at their energy bills steadily rising and wondering how on earth they are going to get through the next few months. The Government cannot and must not turn their back on them.
When Parliament returns next week, I will be urgently pressing the Government to step in and act before it’s too late. Now is not the time for squabbling and indecision. We need the Government to step up and sort this crisis out.