Harriet Harman, MP for Camberwell & Peckham – South London News

It’s impossible to know from one day to the next who will be the Chancellor or even who will be the Prime Minister.

The Government has sunk into political chaos because they have plunged the country into economic chaos. And the impact will be felt by everyone in my constituency of Camberwell and Peckham.

To get elected to be the leader of the Conservative Party and become Prime Minister, Liz Truss promised to cut taxes, particularly for the richest people in the country, and to pay for it out of money that the Government would borrow.

When Labour was in Government we stuck to the rule that we would only borrow to invest, for example in transport, housing, and infrastructure like school and hospital buildings, water and energy.

We kept strictly to the rule that, while we would borrow to invest, any day-to-day spending would have to be paid for out of taxes, with those who are richest paying the most.

The reason for this is that when the Government has to borrow, those who are lending need to have confidence that there is a plan, and it all adds up.

Liz Truss won the leadership offering a set of promises which simply were never going to work. As was inevitable, the international financial markets recognised that her plans in her mini budget were never going to work.

With the Government setting out to borrow 10s of billions of pounds with no idea how it would be paid back.

So, they put up the interest rate for Government borrowing which set off a chain of further actions.

Banks and building societies cancelled many of their mortgage offers and put-up interest rates for borrowers.

This snatched the prospect of those who were on the brink of buying their first home and sent a dark cloud over families who already have a mortgage.

Many of those who wanted to buy a home found they couldn’t and those who wanted to sell couldn’t either.

Inflation which has already been going up was turbo charged with food prices and transport costs surging in the same way we’ve seen with energy bills.

All this was caused by the Government and they are never going to be able to solve it.

The Conservative party which prides itself in being the party of the “free market” has fallen foul of the markets and they will never be trusted with the economy again.

Independent research in Camberwell and Peckham backs up what my constituents are telling me. Almost 70 per cent are cutting back on their essential groceries.

64 per cent are worried about not being able to pay energy bills and half are worried about not being able to afford to pay their rent.

As many as 36 per cent are worried they’ll need to use a food bank and nearly half are worried about being made homeless.

And the insecurity has reached older people too, with 53 per cent worried about the future of their pension. That hits local businesses too as people have less money to spend.

Now the new chancellor is threatening to “solve” the problem that they have caused with massive cuts to public services including the NHS, schools and local councils.

And the fear is now that they will update benefits only in line with earnings which is only half the level of inflation which are the prices people actually face.

The reality is that people face a really hard and worrying time ahead. Fuel bills have surged because of Putin’s dreadful invasion of Ukraine but the Conservatives’ reckless economic plans have made it even worse.

The best and most effective way to deal with these problems and put people’s minds to rest is to have a new, Labour, government.

Our leader, Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves who would be our chancellor are ready. What we need now is a General Election.

It is selfish for the Conservatives to cling to power when they are clearly not up to the job.

They need to get out of the way before things get even worse.


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