Real terms pay cut
Real terms pay cut

A week on from the Spring Statement and the fallout has yet to end. The statement not only failed to meaningfully address the cost of living crisis affecting households across the UK, but their subsequent spin revealed a Government deeply out of touch with how most people live their lives. This crisis didn’t come out of nowhere, its roots stretch back to 2010 and the lack of action on living costs since then gives little reason to believe the Conservative Party will ever do anything to tackle it.

For families in Crawley, the hike in the cost of essentials couldn’t come at a worse time, with unemployment far higher than at almost any other time in the town’s history due to the Government’s COVID restrictions and the lack of Government support which followed.

Now, on top of everything else, both workers and employers face a tax increase in National Insurance, actively penalising companies for creating new jobs and consequently slowing the economy down further. It’s almost beyond belief. Even the Government’s own advisors made it clear the increase isn’t necessary.

The result is that by 2023, workers in Crawley face an average real terms pay cut of £1,088 compared to the start of this year. That’s money most families cannot afford to lose. Yet, rather than reversing their tax cuts for the superrich or having a windfall tax on the profits of businesses exploiting the current crisis, this Government is doing what it has always done: targeting ordinary hard-working families while cutting their services. It should be clear to everyone by now that no matter who they elect as leader, no matter whatever else is going on in the world, the Conservatives’ approach won’t ever change because it can’t, it is at the core of what holds their party together.

So, what next? Well, really that’s up to you. In a democracy, Governments only have the ability to treat their citizens with contempt when they know they can rely upon their support. With local elections taking place in early May, the question is what message do you want to send?

Cllr Peter Lamb

Leader, Crawley Borough Council

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