“Our growth plan has delivered all these promises and more, Mr Speaker, and I commend it to the House!” so said Kwasi Kwarteng to a stunned House of Commons as he introduced Liz Truss’s mini budget on the 23 of September 2022.
One year on from this infamous announcement, it still feels surreal that this ‘growth plan’ happened at all and was the actual policy of the Government. £45bn of unfunded tax cuts for the rich, the limit to bankers’ bonuses scrapped; it seemed designed to cause as much chaos as possible.
And it did. The pound tanked, mortgage rates skyrocketed and working people – already struggling under the weight of the cost-of-living crisis – were left in the lurch.
One year on, I still feel angry on behalf of the people I represent here in Tameside. Local people rightly expect that the Government will work responsibly and in their best interests. When that trust is damaged, it’s bad for the public and bad for our politics more generally.
The cost-of-living crisis is still biting people hard here in Tameside. There have been incredible efforts made locally to help those in need with things like food and energy bills, but ultimately local organisations are fighting an uphill battle. I’ve said that the Government needs to match these efforts nationally, and that means putting fiscal responsibility and stability right at the heart of everything they do.
This is something I’m really pleased Labour has committed to. What Liz Truss didn’t understand was that growth will only be sustainable if it’s built on the rock of economic stability. We need to see investment in good, green jobs and in our brilliant local businesses, but this has to come in the form of a fully-funded and costed plan. Similarly, we need to focus on the things that are actually hampering growth. Things like poor housing, failing transport, insecure work, and crumbling public services. These were all areas that have been overlooked by this Government, and our economy has totally slumped as a result.
Now all this might sound obvious to lots of people in Tameside, but this focus is urgently needed back in Government. We’ve had chaos and instability for far too long. It’s time to give working people the support, certainty and security that they deserve.