Shropshire Tories back Hunt's Autumn Statement but opponents say people are paying for Conservative mistakes

The Autumn Statement will "put Britain back on the right path", according to Shrewsbury's MP.

Jeremy Hunt
Jeremy Hunt

Shropshire's Conservative MPs have backed Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's bid to wrestle back confidence in the UK economy after Liz Truss' brief and disastrous reign as Prime Minister.

But North Shropshire's Liberal Democrat MP, Helen Morgan, said it was a budget which showed that people will be paying the costs of "Conservative mistakes for years to come".

Shrewsbury & Atcham Conservative, Daniel Kawczynski said: "Today in the Autumn Statement, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has made tough but fair decisions to restore economic stability and tackle inflation. As a low-state and low-tax Conservative, the Autumn Statement is not where I want my party to be but it is indicative of what needs to be done in order to put Britain back on the right path.

"I am pleased that the Chancellor has committed to uprating benefits in line with inflation and protecting the pensions triple lock – delivering on our manifesto commitment, and increasing income tax thresholds demonstrates that this Conservative Government is supporting those in greatest need."

Telford Tory MP, Lucy Allan said she welcomed a number of measures, but was concerned about the tax burden on working families.

She said: "Many families in Telford will benefit from the measures announced today. The uprating of benefits in line with inflation, the increase in minimum wage and the maintenance of the triple lock are all welcome measures that many of my constituents wanted to see.

"Increased funding for the NHS and Education will also be welcomed by everyone.

"But hard working people on average incomes with mortgages and childcare costs, won’t be getting a pay rise and will be hit hard by increased taxes, interest rates and inflation.

"I understand the need to help the most vulnerable, but someone on an average wage is going to really struggle. I am concerned about the impact on the economy of increasing taxes as we go into a recession. It’s vital for for growth to incentivise work and make work pay, otherwise our workforce will continue to shrink, negatively impacting productivity."

Wrekin Conservative MP Mark Pritchard said: “This was a balanced statement, which will reduce the deficit whilst not dampening growth. It is good news that both education and health budgets will not only be protected but see real increases. I hope that as inflation decreases interest rates will come down too."

Ludlow Conservative Philip Dunne added: "The new Chancellor has made no attempt to shy away from the economic reality we face. Economies around the world are currently in, or are due to enter, a recession made in Russia. The UK is not immune from global pressures resulting from the pandemic and rising energy costs resulting from Putin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

"Today’s statement has shown that Jeremy Hunt understands the need to renew market stability and take the difficult decisions needed to reduce inflation, support families through the cost of living pressures this winter and return the economy to growth as soon as practicable. He has been clear that he has had to find £55 billion to balance the books, but has done so roughly half from tax changes and half from spending decisions.

“The Autumn Statement has a wide ranging package of £12 billion support for those most in need, but also ensured that all households are supported through the period of higher energy bills by extending the Energy Price Guarantee for another year to April 2024.

“Those in South Shropshire reliant on alternative energy sources such as LPG and heating oil will see their support doubled to £200."

Montgomeryshire Conservative Craig Williams MP said: “The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement is a fair and balanced financial plan, protecting the most vulnerable within our society by increasing benefits, wages and pensions. I was also very pleased that the Government will be maintaining the Energy Support Scheme and extending it to 2024. Tax rises will only impact the highest earners in our society, which I believe is a fair system of taxation.

“There have clearly had to be difficult decisions made, and the OBR have confirmed that plans to slow down spending and increase taxes in certain areas will restore public finances to a sustainable position and help reduce inflation and unemployment. The Chancellor’s plan has ensured this will be achieved, while prioritising extra investment into schools and the NHS – with Wales receiving extra funding from the UK Government. I therefore very much hope that the Welsh Government invests this money into our schools and health service, especially within rural Wales."

However, Ms Morgan pulled no punches when she said: “This is the cost of a Conservative chaos budget. The Chancellor has made clear that ordinary people will be paying for the Conservatives’ mistakes for years to come.

“The Tories have trashed our economy, broken the NHS and stripped back the services that people desperately need in North Shropshire.

“The Government’s failures have already inflicted huge costs on families and now they are doubling down on the damage by hiking up taxes.

“Had ministers spent 2022 listening to Lib Dem policies instead of experimenting with the economy we would not be in such a mess.

“They have let oil and gas giants escape a proper windfall tax and are refusing to cap the cost of the heating oil and LPG that people in off-grid homes rely on.

“The Conservatives have created the worst ambulance and hospital delays in NHS history and now are forcing taxpayers to fork out just to stop the problems getting even worse.

“These are problems that are at their worst in places like North Shropshire but once again a Conservative Chancellor has shown he does not care about rural Britain.”

Meanwhile Councillor Shaun Davies, the Labour leader of Telford & Wrekin Council, echoed Ms Morgan in saying working families would be paying for the mistakes of the Conservative Party.

He said: "Residents are already paying the highest tax burden since the war, and they are going to start paying far more tax as a result of today, and they well see the largest hit on their living standards since the 1950s because of the decisions this Government has made.

"This is the direct result of the mishandling of the economy by the Conservative Government, that working people are paying the price for.

"For the council and public services, despite the spin the vast majority of services, the police, the council, health, are not seeing the investment they require and that will see more cuts.

"After 12 years of the Conservatives the reality is public services are not just on their knees, they need urgent resuscitation."

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