CHANCELLOR Rishi Sunak’s spring statement has been slammed by Barnsley MPs for failing to allay ‘fearful’ residents’ worries about the rising cost-of-living crisis.
According to new statistics from think-tank 38 Degrees, Barnsley East residents - represented by MP Stephanie Peacock - are feeling the pinch with 84 per cent facing more expensive energy bills and 89 per cent experiencing more expensive groceries.
Meanwhile, inflation is forecast to hit 7.4 per cent this year, the highest rate in 30 years.
Prior to last week’s statement, Labour called on the Chancellor to withdraw the planned rise to National Insurance, and reduce energy bills with a windfall tax on oil companies.
These recommendations were ignored, according to Stephanie and Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis, in favour of a plan that confirms a total of £24bn in tax rises this year.
Stephanie said: “The Chancellor could have shown that he understands how the rising cost of living is affecting ordinary working people.
“Instead, he chose to leave people to struggle with spiralling prices and an unfair tax hike.
“The crisis is being ignored.”
Rising fears over the town’s plight have been expressed by MPs, with one in three children now being classed as living in poverty.
The number of children has risen from 12,325 in 2014/15 to 15,352, in 2019/20, despite latest statistics relating to pre-pandemic rates and not since Covid-19 struck in March 2020.
Barnsley is 32nd out of 382 local authority areas when the percentage rise is taken into account, but the borough’s figures closely follow a rise across Yorkshire and the Humber, where average rates have increased from 28 per cent to 33 per cent.
Dan added: “People across Barnsley are genuinely fearful for what the coming weeks and months will bring.
“Food, fuel, energy and travel costs all spiralling out of control.
“Compared to the national average, we have more people struggling to heat their homes, more businesses that are energy intensive, and more people not in the workforce.
“Some of the measures announced will help alleviate the pain but not for those in greatest need - people on lower incomes and the most vulnerable in society will be left wondering how they’re going to keep the lights on and put food on the table.
“The government hasn’t just failed to help our communities through the hardship of today, they’ve also failed to help residents plan for tomorrow.
“We’re witnessing the biggest fall in living standards since records began - the Chancellor has failed to respond to the scale of the challenge before us.”