You can read Sharon's latest Echo column below, or on the Sunderland Echo Website
Inflation is at the highest level that it has been in three decades, food costs are soaring, and fuel bills could increase by another 50% in the next few months. We are in a cost of living crisis.
And yet the Prime Minister and the Chancellor are choosing to increase National Insurance taxes. They are hiking up business and working people's taxes at the worst possible time. This is a tax increase that will not affect the wealthiest in society, but it will send a lot of people who are just about managing, into real financial peril.
One of my constituents told me that despite being savvy when it comes to getting the cheapest deal on their energy, it was becoming rapidly unaffordable for them. To the point that their family had been wearing extra clothes to keep warm and turning off their heating altogether. And now The Conservatives are going to burden this family with further National Insurance taxes?
Sadly, this isn’t a unique story. Up and down this country, people are facing the stress that comes from worrying about whether they can heat their homes and afford to keep going. Whether you feed your children or keep them warm is a decision that no one should ever have to make.
The choice made by the Prime Minister and Chancellor to go ahead with this unfair tax rise at this time on those who can least afford it is a political one, and it risks sending families over the edge.
Unlike this Tory Government, Labour would give families security with fully-funded measures to keep energy bills low, paid for by a windfall tax on North Sea Oil and gas producer profits.
Labour’s plan would shave £200 off family bills - including a VAT cut on home energy bills - with targeted extra help of up to £400 on top of that to pensioners, working households and the lowest earners. A Labour Government would give families security by bringing the cost of living down. A Labour Government would make a real difference to ordinary people’s every-day lives.
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