Shadow Chancellor criticises Mr Sunak’s ‘stubborn desire to pursue a national insurance tax rise’

Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves responds to the spring statement. Photograph: Screengrab

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said the Government’s plan did nothing for people on the edge of fuel poverty or for pensioners who are facing a “real-terms cut” to their income.

She said increasing energy prices would mean Labour’s plan for a windfall tax on energy companies’ profits would raise twice as much as when it was proposed in January, which could be used to cut VAT and provide a targeted warms home discount.

“When I set out Labour’s plans for a  windfall tax in January we estimated that it would have raised £1.2 billion, now because of the continued rise in global oil and gas prices it would today raise over £3 billion.”

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She added:

The actual reality is that this Chancellor’s failure to back a windfall tax and his stubborn desire to pursue a national insurance tax rise are the wrong choices.

In eight days, people’s energy bills will be rising by 54%, two weeks today the Chancellor’s tax hike will start hitting working people and their employers,

His national insurance tax rise was a bad idea last September and he’s admitted it’s an even worse one today.

The Chancellor is making an historic mistake. Today was the day to scrap the tax rise on jobs, today was the day to bring forward a windfall tax, today was the day for the Chancellor to set out a plan to support British businesses.

But, on the basis of the statement today and the misguided choices of this Chancellor, families and businesses will from now on endure significant hardship as a result.