The Tories have been in limbo for weeks now, awaiting a new leader and Prime Minister to be elected. Now Liz Truss has been inducted into that role, we’re still waiting for some tangible action and concrete plans to be set out in response to the impending price rises in October.
While the public, companies, institutions and the whole fabric of society hangs, Ms Truss is still delaying until tomorrow any kind of announcement on which they can pin some hope.
Arguing in Prime Minister’s Questions is all very traditional as the new term starts in the Westminster infant school, but it gives only glimpses of what help may be available, and who is ultimately going to pay for it.
Just when we thought Covid had attempted to cripple the ives, livelihoods and economy, along comes war, increasing global demand, and of course the ongoing greed of privately-owned energy and utility companies, to make that look like a walk in the park.
Financial rescue measures which helped to keep a lot of businesses afloat may soon come to ruin because of the rapidly increasing energy costs, and bearing in mind that non-domestic customers have no price cap whatsoever and are looking at eye-watering increases just before the seasons of heavy gas and electricity usage begin.
Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party, repeatedly asked Ms Truss why she refused to impose a windfall tax on the energy companies, who have made record profits in the hundreds of billions, and why instead it seems ordinary taxpayers will have the foot the bill for any rescue measures brought in before the winter.
Truss claims she is “on the side of people who work hard and do the right thing” even though she has already maligned British workers for “lacking in skill and application”. It is currently hard to see where that loyalty is.
People need solid answers, and immediate action, right now. We’re a little over three weeks away from another potential price rise, and only four months from yet another. People need to know right now what the situation is, and what help they may receive, so they can make better plans for the months ahead.
Really, this should have been dealt with in the summer, but thanks to bungling Boris being ousted and a then seeming lack of ability for anyone to do anything except fight, bicker and publish soundbites, that never happened. We now edge ever closer to the precipice of ruin, while Tories shuffle around in Number 10 and remain devoid of solutions.
Truss suggests that taxation stifles investment and innovation from new and existing companies. That may be true, but the ramifications of allowing this winter to go unchecked could be catastrophic.
Not only is there the immediate threat to life, particularly among the elderly, disabled and ill, but the economic loss in communities around the country as businesses close, jobs are lost, and services are cut back. Education will suffer as schools cannot afford to pay energy and staffing costs as well as providing additional service and activities.
The knock-on effect of delaying or scrimping could be irreparable, at least in this generation. Not only physical, but emotional and mental health is suffering, and will suffer further.
Families up and down the country await tomorrow’s announcement. Maybe with hope, perhaps with trepidation that it won’t go far enough, will be vague or delayed yet again.
Please prove us wrong. Sweep away the stereotypes of a rich, uncaring Conservative party and ensure this country’s citizens can be healthy and relatively free of stress as we approach winter and on into 2023.