Recently, you’d have noticed there has been a very large price inflation since Russia began attacking Ukraine. The price of living has vastly increased, and while we’re not the only place to be affected, the current inflation is rising at 7%, with the worst yet to come.
Amidst Russia’s war crimes, many countries have cut ties with their resources, meaning we must look elsewhere for energy, but the UK government’s response isn’t helping this financial crisis. Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, came up with a scheme to give low-income households a £200 energy loan as well as a tax rebate of £150. At first, this may look like a decent idea, especially coming from the Conservative party, but with the energy cap prices being driven up by 54%, the money underprivileged households are receiving is just not good enough. Once you factor in the average annual salary for a member of parliament is over £80,000 a year, and Sunak’s personal fortune of a reported £100 million, the scheme is absolutely ludicrous.
I tend not to get too caught up with the government, but I saw a video the other day of Labour MP, Barry Sheerman, who is 81 years of age, absolutely shredding Sunak to pieces in Parliament, and it was fairly entertaining to watch. He said Sunak was “the most incompetent chancellor I have ever seen”. This all comes a few months after it was revealed the Tory government broke the lockdown rules they set, so it’s safe to say they aren’t in people’s good books at the moment.
It was also revealed Sunak’s millionaire wife was dodging an estimated £4.4 million worth of taxes, this makes it seem as if the Chancellor’s idea of a “loan” was used to draw attention away from his controversy. The reason I bring up the tax-dodging is because if his wife can afford to dodge that much tax, are they not able to afford to check their privilege and realise this scheme is quite useless?
I am a student from a working-class background, personally, I haven’t been too affected by this crisis, yes my petrol has gone up by around £8, and my food shop costs a little bit more and my rent is increasing, but I’m privileged enough to be able to afford these necessities, yet 22% of Brits cannot because they’re living in poverty. Perhaps if we were to make the Prime Minister and his government live a day in the shoes of this percentage, they would feel differently about these “loans”.
There are many factors to blame for the energy crisis, but the lack of compassion the government is showing towards low-income households, who are currently deciding if heating or eating is more of a priority, fills me with shame, the shame of being in one of the most powerful countries in the world that’s run by a government who cannot even comprehend basic human empathy. Dare I ask what’s next?