Coming out of a once-in-a-generation pandemic and then into a major military conflict on the continent, we’ve seen public finances stretched in a way that’s simply unprecedented during peacetime. As we enter another turbulent period, it is clear that the economic challenges of the moment will be with us for some time to come, and that difficult decisions need to be taken to get us back on track.
Facing the triple squeeze of high inflation, interest rates and government debt, the Chancellor’s statement last week set out a robust plan for the path ahead, including steps to curb inflation and cut down borrowing, whilst protecting those most vulnerable.
The Autumn Statement brings forward several packages of much-needed support to communities across the country. I know that for many households in Chichester, the greatest challenge they are facing right now is with their energy bills. As of April next year, the Government will invest £12.8 billion in rolling out a new Energy Price Guarantee - saving the average household around £500 on their annual energy bills. Further Cost of Living Payments will be provided of £900 for the eight million households on means-tested benefits, a second £300 Pensioner Cost-of-Living Payment, and another £150 for disability benefit recipients, as well as an uprating to means-tested benefits and state pensions. A variety of other measures are also available, which you can read about on my new ‘Cost of Living’ support page: https://www.gilliankeegan.com/
We’re also investing in our public services, and as Education Secretary, I’m delighted to see a further £4.6 billion for our schools over the next 2 years to ensure that our teaching staff have the resources they need to provide a world-leading education. We will also see another £8 billion for our NHS and Adult Social care, so that we can get on top of the Covid backlog once and for all.
To govern is to make difficult trade-offs, to make the tough calls but to make them with compassion, and whilst the path ahead will be challenging for many of us, the plan put forward by this Government is one that will see us through the worst of the storm and rebuild stronger than ever.