Lisa Nandy MP: Our economy needs to grow again

Everybody knows we are in the midst of a cost of living crisis.
Lisa Nandy MPLisa Nandy MP
Lisa Nandy MP

Prices are going up, energy bills are skyrocketing, and wages and living standards are being squeezed harder than they have been for decades.

Everybody is aware of this, it seems, except the two people scrapping it out to be the next Prime Minister.

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As Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak parade around the country trying to win over Tory members (the only people who get to choose our next PM), you’d think they were running for election on a different planet.

We’ve heard plenty from them about tax cuts for the wealthy, sending immigrants to Rwanda, or so-called “woke” issues.

But there’s been nothing close to a serious plan to tackle the worst cost of living crisis in a generation.

Whichever one of them wins, things are only going to get tougher.

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Energy prices are set to rise to more than £3,500 per year in October, and could reach as high as £4,400 a year in January.

Inflation is forecast to hit 13 per cent within weeks; and we know that these price rises are hitting families in Wigan and the North much harder than those in the South.

It is shocking that in the middle of such a crisis, the current Prime Minister has effectively clocked off and the two underwhelming candidates to replace him have no plan.

We need to get money back into people’s pockets, and fast.

That’s why Keir Starmer has said Labour would stop the price cap going up, saving people £1,000 this winter.

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We would also end the injustice that sees families with energy prepayment meters paying over the odds for their gas and electricity.

And we would close the loophole that is allowing oil and gas giants to wriggle out of the Windfall Tax the Government finally introduced after many months of delay.

The CEO of BP has described current high energy prices as a “cash machine” for his company.

We cannot allow his firm and others to keep making billions in profits while families cannot afford to pay their bills or buy food for their children.

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Once we’re through this immediate crisis, we need to fundamentally rethink how our country works.

We cannot continue trying to power our economy using only a handful of people, in a handful of sectors, in one small corner of the country.

We need to invest in people and places everywhere, allowing towns like Wigan to make the contribution we know we can make.

Only by doing that can we get our economy growing again.

We’re not going to get that from either Sunak or Truss though.

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His idea of “levelling up” is taking money from deprived areas and giving it to leafy shires in Kent, while she thinks nurses and teachers are worth less in the North than in London and the South East.

We all know that the country is in crisis.

The candidates for Prime Minister and their Government need to wake up and realise it too.