The chancellor has been accused of leaving the “squashed middle” and is under pressure to cut taxes
The Chancellor has been accused of failing the middle class with his £15billion intervention, which focused mainly on the most vulnerable and included benefit recipients, pensioners and the disabled.
According to official statistics, even after Rishi Sunak’s financial support package, an average earner family will be more than £800 poorer this year.
Every household will benefit from a £400 rebate on their energy bill from October, while most families will also benefit from a £150 tax credit depending on the value of their home.
But higher taxes – both direct and indirect – and soaring energy bills mean middle earners end up being significantly worse off.
An analysis by the House of Commons Library found that Mr Sunak’s decision to freeze income tax thresholds and increase the Social Security rate means a household with two average full-time earners of £33,790 each will pay an extra £220 directly to the Treasury.
Rising prices in shops will also increase VAT bills, with the average household paying £428 more than last tax year. The average energy bill also rose by £694 when the price cap was raised in April.
That amounts to over £1,300 in additional energy and tax costs.
With inflation also leading to higher prices for food and other basic necessities, and another expected rise in energy prices in October, average households will be more than £800 worse off despite receiving £550 in government support.
This was announced by the liberal democratic finance spokeswoman Christine Jardine I: “The bruised middle will be completely abandoned by this government for months. Rishi Sunak’s announcement was a betrayal of Britain’s squashed middle. Proud families who never thought they would have trouble paying the bills are now being dragged into this financial crisis.
“Prices at the pump and at the register are going to skyrocket this summer and there will be no help whatsoever. Even if some support arrives in October, it will be completely wiped out by tax hikes. Those in the middle income bracket are bearing the brunt of Rishi Sunak’s deeply unfair tax increases and are getting nothing in return.”
The Chancellor said he wanted to help the low earners the most and almost completely eliminate the impact of inflation on their finances through a series of out-of-pocket payments.
But speaking in the House of Commons last week, he also admitted that “families not in need of government support in normal times” “face challenging times” as he announced the bill rebate would be doubled to £400 without the he would have to be repaid in future years.
Conservative MP Robert Halfon backed Mr Sunak, telling Times Radio: “I always thought conservatism was about helping those who were less fortunate. And you just have to see people in my constituency of Harlow and across the country who are worried about how to feed their families, how to clothe their families, many going to supermarkets with a little slip of paper that calculates exactly how much they need to spend , and not a penny more.”
But ex-Cabinet Secretary Robert Jenrick is the latest senior Conservative to push for a return to Conservative orthodoxy following the Chancellor’s recent fiscal intervention.
Other MPs have expressed concern that the party is no longer offering new ideas of its own after Mr Sunak adopted the idea of an unexpected tax on oil and gas companies from Labor and the Liberal Democrats.
Backbenchers are not expected to rebel in large numbers when Parliament votes on the cost of living next month, but some will use the debate to vent their anger at the current direction of the policy.
Mr Jenrick, the former Housing Secretary, wrote in the Sunday Telegraph: “Voters have given the Conservatives the confidence to lead the economy, and with good reason. A recipe of lower taxes, prudent spending and a willingness to embrace supply-side reforms has served this country well. To get out of low growth and bleak prospects, it is more important than ever that we get back to basics.”
Andrew Bowie, MP for West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine, said: “We need to restart the battle of ideas. Have a debate about where we are going and why. What our vision is for Britain.”
The Chancellor has promised to work on a plan for long-term economic growth in the coming months. He has enrolled The sun: “I want to create the conditions that foster growth and strengthen our economy, and that is the best we can do to help people.
“I will spend my summer looking at all the ways we can make this happen. I am determined to turn this difficult moment into a springboard for economic renewal and growth.”