My ministerial colleagues and I fully acknowledge that there is a cost of living challenge, which has been caused by a combination of the covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. That is why we are providing £22 billion for households across the UK to try to get through this crisis.
The people of Newport West are facing the harsh effects of this Government’s failure to tackle the cost of living crisis. My constituent Hettie contacted my office because she is a single mum of two and must choose between food and heating. Both her cooker and her hot water are gas, so as the prices rise so do her bills. She works, in her words, “Every hour possible”. She is scared for her and her children’s future, and she is not alone. Local people need to see real action. If Tory Ministers will not take any fiscal steps, will the Minister do what many people in Newport West want and back a windfall tax on oil and gas companies?
Taxes are a matter for the Chancellor, but what I can say is that I absolutely acknowledge that there is a challenge at the moment, which has been brought about by the international situation. That is why the Government are putting £22 billion aside. It is why they have changed universal credit to help people such as the hon. Lady’s constituent who are out working, and why we have increased the minimum wage. It is why national insurance contributions are going to fall, we have extended the warm home discount and put in place a whole package of other measures. While we are spending money helping people get through the cost of living challenge, the Welsh Government are spending money buying up farms in mid-Wales and increasing the number of Senedd Members.