Tag Archives: inflation

22 September 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Fracking: Rural areas treated like guinea pigs
  • Interest rates: Homeowners being punished by Government failure to control inflation
  • Recession: Blame lies with Conservative MPs
  • NHS announcement an ‘A, B, C of failure’
  • Lib Dems table motion to cancel Parliament recess and scrutinise mini Budget
  • Kwarteng growth plan: Shocking admission of Conservative failure

Fracking: Rural areas treated like guinea pigs

Responding to the British Geological Survey’s Report on fracking, Liberal Democrat Environment Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse said:

The government’s own experts have refused to say fracking is safe. That they choose to plough on regardless shows a callous disregard for our communities and countryside. From Surrey to Somerset, the government are treating people in rural areas like guinea pigs.

The Conservatives obsession with fracking lays bare that they don’t actually think that Climate change is happening and are not willing to take the urgent action needed. They are delaying climate action at every corner. The mask has finally slipped and is revealing Liz Truss and Jacob Reece Mogg as climate change deniers. It is bizarre that this has become their priority, rather than renewables: the cheapest and most popular form of energy.

If people suffer polluted water and dangerous earthquakes, this decision will prove unforgivable.

Interest rates: Homeowners being punished by Government failure to control inflation

Responding to the Bank of England raising interest rates by 0.5%, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

This a hammer blow to struggling homeowners who are being punished by the Government’s failure to control inflation. This monster rate rise could have been avoided if Conservative Ministers bothered to take action sooner on energy bills and the rising cost of living. Instead, the Bank of England is left with no choice but to hike mortgage costs for millions.

It is first time buyers I fear for the most, who have scrimped and saved for their first house. Tomorrow Liz Truss has to clean up the mess made by this Conservative Government and bailout families and pensioners who will suffer as a result of this mortgage hike. This should start with re-installing an Emergency Mortgage Support Fund which was cruelly scrapped by Conservative Ministers.

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17 August 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Inflation figures: People will never forgive this Government for abandoning them
  • Thames Water hosepipe ban: slap in the face for millions of people
  • “Nasty party”: Kwarteng must clarify Truss’s shameful ‘graft’ comments
  • 75,000 A-Level grades set to be deflated under Government’s exam plans
  • Councillor Sykes welcomes change in law barring sex offenders from standing for or holding elected office

Inflation figures: People will never forgive this Government for abandoning them

Responding to inflation reaching 10.1% this morning, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

Britain is heading for the worst economic crisis in a generation, yet the Prime Minister has clocked off early whilst Sunak and Truss are too busy squabbling amongst themselves.

Families and pensioners will never forgive this Conservative Government for abandoning them in the middle of a cost of living catastrophe.

The answer is staring Conservative MPs in the face but they refuse to act. Energy bills must be frozen immediately or else millions of people will be plunged into financial devastation this winter.

Thames Water hosepipe ban: slap in the face for millions of people

Responding to the news that Thames Water will enforce a hosepipe ban, Liberal Democrat Environment Spokesperson Tim Farron MP said:

This is a slap in the face for millions of people when Thames Water is losing a quarter of all their water to leaks.

Their gross negligence to fix leaks is set to inflict hosepipe ban misery across the South. We wouldn’t be in this mess if Thames Water bothered to invest properly. Instead, water companies are choosing to pay themselves billions of pounds in profits and reward their CEOs with insulting bonuses. Thames Water is putting profit above the public and environment.

Ministers are to blame for letting profiteering water companies get away with it. Under this Government, our rivers have become polluted with sewage and water pipes rusting with leaks.

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Lib Dems comment on dire economic news – but we need to say more

This week has had more than its fair share of dire economic news. The prospect of a deep, prolonged recession at a time of soaring prices means that people on the lowest incomes are really going to suffer. Let’s think about what that looks like. It means that people on the lowest incomes will simply not be able to afford the basics that they need to survive. If they don’t face the prospect of losing their home, heating it to an adequate level will be a challenge.  Putting food on the table will be tough.  Even if they just manage to get by, an unexpected car repair bill, or a washing machine breakdown, could be problems that they can’t cope with. It is quite likely that we will see levels of poverty and suffering that we thought were gone for good.

It’s the most terrifying economic landscape since 2008. And with recession comes the prospect of people losing their jobs. We didn’t have energy and living costs on a steep upward curve then.

I remember only too well the recession of the 1980s. That ITN Jobs round up every Friday showing so many jobs being lost every week. Soaring unemployment as, one by one, our key manufacturing industries crumbled.  Remember UB40’s One in Ten?

At that point though the welfare state met more of your living costs if you lost your job. You at least had some chance of getting by. And students could get help with Housing Benefit and could sign on during the long Summer holiday if they couldn’t get a job. Now, benefits are less generous, and woe betide you if you dared have more than two children since 2017 because you won’t be able to claim any Universal Credit for them.

During the 90s recession, I worked in the civil courts in England and it was heartbreaking to see the huge rise in both mortgage and rent possession cases. Each one of those meant that someone was in danger of losing their homes, and many did.

As interest rates rise, so do mortgages. Already high private sector rents are likely to increase as landlords pay more on their buy to let mortgages.

It all seemed terrible back then, but now the prospects and the pressures on incomes are even worse.

Inflation on its own is bad enough but then you have a nearly £1300 rise in energy costs from their already high level from October with the prospect of further rises every three months. If you are on a low income you are more likely to be on a prepayment meter and will find it more difficult to access help while you pay proportionately higher prices.

And all the time prices continue to rise with the Bank of England warning that inflation could hit 13%.

There is not much in the way of respite coming your way. The extra money already announced isn’t going to go very far if you are low paid.

All of this comes at a time when the Conservative Government have been cutting public services for too long. So where councils might have been able to provide much needed help in the past, they are not able to do so now. Advice agencies also need investment so that they can help people find their way through and advocate on their behalf.

Senior Liberal Democrats have been talking about the crisis. Here’s Ed Davey on the news of the energy price cap rise:

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Davey: Inflation at 7% is “frankly frightening”

You might have been forgiven for not spotting one serious piece of news today that was not all about Johnson and Sunak.  It was announced that inflation has risen to 7%, the highest rate in 30 years.

The rise was partially driven by the hike in petrol prices, which of course have a knock-on effect on the prices of all consumer goods, including food.

Ed Davey has been commenting on this to the media in between talking about partygate. He says:

Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak are too busy trying to save their own jobs rather than saving pensioners and families from spiralling prices.

These new inflation figures are frankly frightening. Every day the cost of living crisis worsens yet our law-breaking leaders simply don’t seem to care. This is no way to govern Britain.

This country needs a new Chancellor in place next week to deliver an emergency budget to protect households on the brink. Pensioners and hard pressed families need urgent help with their energy bill and unfair tax hikes to be immediately reversed. It is now or never to save Britain from this cost of living crisis, and it is clear this Government is not up to the job.

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Christine Jardine: Families need a lifeline to help with impact of inflation

Today inflation reached a 30 year high of 5.5%. Lib Dem Treasury Spokesperson called for the Government to take action to help those facing being cold and hungry as a result:

Families are facing an unprecedented cost of living crisis, with a triple whammy of spiralling energy bills, Conservative tax rises and 30-year high inflation.

People are worried about heating their homes and putting food on the table, yet all we’ve seen from this Government is half measures and a raft of tax hikes in April. That’s not the leadership people need in this crisis.

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Does “Assume” Make an Ass out of U and Me?

Once upon a time our assumptions about interest rates were that they were always in plural digits. Now we accept near zero interest rates and some accept negative interest rates as normal as they have been around for about a decade.

What would happen if currently “normal” mortgage rates returned to their higher previous “normal” rates? What would happen to car sales and the like if we returned to the “old normal” interest rates? How can people and institutions save when interest rates are nominal and interest fruitful amounts of money are so vulnerable?

With near zero interest rates, is the stock market the only actual vehicle for investment income? Is it reliable for the many?

Another previous normal assumption was that massive money creation would result in inflation/excessive inflation. It hasn’t. (Assuming relevant data is accurate). Can we now assume that the massive use of money trees does not, in practice, affect inflation significantly?

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Inflation sign of Brexit squeeze – Lib Dems

Inflation has gone up to 2.7% today.

This confirms long-held Liberal Democrat warnings about the impact of Brexit, with businesses struggling to contain rising costs and consumer demand being squeezed.

Susan Kramer said:

These worrying levels of inflation show the Brexit squeeze is hitting shopping baskets across the country.

This is the reality of Theresa May and Nigel Farage’s extreme Brexit agenda: higher prices in the shops, the cost of holidays going up and less money for our schools and NHS.

A brighter future is possible. We will give people a choice over their future through a referendum, so they can reject a bad Brexit deal and choose to remain in Europe.

Willie Rennie underlined this point:

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Susan Kramer: Brexit squeeze is hitting families with higher food prices

Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor, Susan Kramer, has reacted to news from the Office for National Statistics that food prices saw the biggest increase for three years in the year to March:

The Brexit squeeze of a falling pound and rising import costs is hitting families across Britain, with higher prices in the shops denting incomes and leaving us all poorer.

This is deeply worrying news for our economy, which has been propped up by consumer spending.

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Lib Dems: Inflation rise hits the poorest

Senior Liberal Democrats have been commenting on the inflation rise today. I have to say that although  0.5% in a month is a lot, it feels like so much more. The prices of so much of my supermarket shop seems to have gone up by a lot more.

In Scorland, our Economy spokesperson Carolyn Caddick said:

Rising inflation shows that the British public are paying the price for Theresa May’s decision to take Britain out of the Single Market. With the pound falling in value by 18% since the referendum, the price of imports have shot up and broken the official target. Every Scot going on holiday abroad is seeing that their pounds do not buy what they used to.

Worst of all, the dramatic leap in food prices is hitting the poorest the most.

The fragile UK economy has been kept on life support by consumer spending, but with prices rising, that is now threatened. If Theresa May should change course immediately, and recognise that you can’t have a hard Brexit and affordable prices.

Our Shadow Chancellor Susan Kramer also blamed Brexit, saying that “You can’t have a hard brexit and affordable prices.”

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Susan Kramer says that Government must unfreeze benefits

Back in July, I told a panel on social security at the Social Liberal Forum conference that in the wake of Brexit, a benefits freeze for four years, which was never a good idea, was entirely inappropriate and we should be opposing it loudly.

Analysis from the Institute of Fiscal Studies confirms that Brexit is going to hit those on benefits and low incomes particularly hard:

Normally many of those on the lowest incomes would be at least partially protected from the impact of higher prices by the rules that govern the annual uprating of benefits and tax credits. By default, benefit and tax credit rates are (with some exceptions, most notably the state pension) increased each April in line with the annual CPI inflation rate of the previous September – higher prices lead to higher benefit rates (albeit with a lag). However, in the July 2015 Budget the Government announced that, as part of its attempt to cut annual social security spending by £12 billion, most working-age benefit and tax credit rates would be frozen in cash terms until March 2020. This policy represented a significant takeaway from a large number of working age households. But it also represented a shifting of risk from the Government to benefit recipients. Previously, higher inflation was a risk to the public finances, increasing cash spending on benefits. Now the risk is borne by low-income households: unless policy changes higher inflation will reduce their real incomes.

I am glad to see that our shadow Chancellor, Susan Kramer, has now said that the Government must reverse its unfair benefits freeze plans:

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Danny Alexander: More people in work than ever before, earnings now rising in line with prices

speech danny alexander 6Two pieces of good economic news today, as the BBC reports:

UK unemployment falls to five-year low of 2.2m

The number of people out of work in the UK has fallen by 77,000 to a five-year low of 2.24m in the three months to February, official figures indicate. The unemployment rate now stands at 6.9% of the adult working population, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

After six years, wages finally overtake inflation

After nearly six years of falling real wages, weekly earnings have finally edged above inflation. Weekly wages, including bonuses, rose by 1.7% in the year to February, up from 1.4% in January, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Earlier this week, inflation, as measured by the Consumer Prices Index (CPI), fell to 1.6%. It is the first time that earnings have been higher than inflation for six years, apart from two months in 2010.

Here’s what the Lib Dem Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander had to say:

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Opinion: Inflation the biggest threat to economic growth

Economic commentators and politicians searching for that most elusive of phenomena – economic growth appear to be operating a back to basics approach. The Bank of England takes the traditional neo-classical approach to its role as arbiter of monetary policy – Quantitative Easing and liquidity schemes to expand the money supply and make borrowing cheaper to incentivise businesses to expand. The government are taking a much more Keynesian route to growth, announcing house building schemes and other infrastructure initiatives in order that the state injects the demand into the economy …

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Opinion: Getting radical with the money supply

Last week the OECD forecast that Britain was about to experience a double-dip recession, for the first time since 1975. Vince Cable in his Centreforum paper Moving from the financial crisis to sustainable growth asks “How far should monetary policy now be expanded further in the UK to boost demand and head off a period of poor growth?

He goes on to say “There is no possibility for further meaningful interest rate cuts – real short term rates are now minus 4 percent. That means further recourse to quantitative easing.

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Three cheers for inflation?

Economist and economic historian Nicholas Crafts is back in the public eye with a new pamphlet for CentreForum. Those with long memories of his previous controversial stances won’t be surprised to know this pamphlet does not take a mainstream approach to economic history or economic policy, instead praising part of the 1930s and calling for more inflation.

The two are linked because he splits Britain’s economic record in the 1930s in two, arguing that in the second half of the 1930s higher prices helped fuel a strong economic recovery:

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PMQs: You can’t gesticulate your way out of a Balls-up

He still looks like a clever sixth former to me, but it is fair to say that Ed Miliband has cracked Prime Minister’s Questions. His performance this week was excellent.

“Just a bit late” was David Cameron’s description of Miliband’s raising of the Fox affair. It is easy to understand why Miliband did not raise the subject last week. Labour played a canny game with Dr Fox. They did not call for his resignation and at the last PMQs, Miliband did not ask directly about the issue. This allowed Dr Fox to swing in the media wind, without obvious Labour encouragement. …

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Opinion: Latest consumer data shows new ‘growth strategy’ is not needed

The advent of 24 hour news channels has led to the media creating a fresh conventional wisdom with every new day.

They started by highlighting the dangers of a double dip recession because the government would cut too fast and too deep. Now, that’s something which Ed Milliband doesn’t even believe if you give credence to his recent appearance on the Andrew Marr Programme.

When the media were airing the cuts too fast argument, I indicated that the danger facing the economy over the medium term would come from inflation.

When the media turned its fire on the danger of inflation, and …

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[email protected]: Tim Leunig – Co-ordinated inflation could bail us all out

Over at the Financial Times, Tim Leunig – occasional contributor to LDV, and reader in economics at the London School of Economics – considers the unusual financial origins of the current recession. Here’s an excerpt:

The global economy would benefit from a pre-announced, temporary, globally co-ordinated bout of moderate inflation. Since it takes about two years for central-bank policy fully to influence inflation, a sensible policy would be to target 4 per cent inflation for the five years from 2011, followed by 2 per cent thereafter. … An increase in inflation by an extra 2 percentage points for a period

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