Margaret Hodge: 'This government has made a bleak winter certain'

File photo dated 14/09/17 of a man withdrawing money from an ATM. Thousands of cash machines were pu

The cost of living is rising - Credit: PA

This winter we are facing one of the hardest winters that I can remember.

There are plenty of factors hurtling towards calamity. Covid, Brexit, and rising inflation are all part of the problem.

But it’s this government which has made a bleak winter certain.

The end of furlough. The £20 cut to universal credit. The fuel crisis. Rocketing energy prices. I believe all these can be traced back to policies created by Tory ministers, and decisions by those in power that will see more and more families struggling to get by.

Meanwhile, work and pensions secretary Thérèse Coffey at the recent Tory Party conference belted out The Time of My Life just hours before cutting universal credit. Shockingly insensitive.

Barking MP Margaret Hodge is continuing to support and fight for Barking.

Margaret Hodge blames the government for the rising cost of living - Credit: Archant

It’s the largest ever overnight cut in benefits. Research by think-tank the Legatum Institute shows her department will push 840,000 people into poverty, at least 290,000 of those are children.

What a heartless decision that will hit people hard here in Barking and Dagenham.

And this cut is just the tip of the iceberg for the cost-of-living crisis.

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In a recent survey, more than half of locals told me they were unable to buy fuel. Two-thirds have seen their energy bills shoot up. And four in five have seen empty shelves in their local supermarket.

The very people the government proclaims it wants to “level up" are being levelled down.

Day-to-day expenses will cost more. And incomes are going to be worth less.

People are having to choose between heating their homes or feeding their family. A choice no one should ever have to make.

To rub salt in the wound, next year the government will hike national insurance contributions supposedly to fix social care. But it’s an unfair way to raise money that will hit working people hardest.

I’m sick and tired of being told by the government that this is not a crisis. This is a cruel mess of their making.

I will not rest until they stop pulling the rug out from under people in our community.

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