‘No silver bullet’ to solving cost of living crisis as Conservatives reject lobbying Government over NI rise

Mansfield’s MP says there is ‘no silver bullet’ to solving the ongoing cost of living crisis for residents.

By Andrew Topping
Thursday, 31st March 2022, 6:47 pm

It comes after a motion calling for Nottinghamshire Council to write to the Government calling for the upcoming National Insurance rise to be scrapped was voted down at County Hall.

Responding to the motion, Coun Ben Bradley, council leader and Mansfield MP, said the council does not need to ‘write letters to show how much we care’ about residents.

The motion was submitted by the Independent Alliance and amended by Labour to call for the rise to be replaced by a windfall tax on oil companies.

Conservative councillors have rejected a plan to write to Chancellor Rishi Sunak urging him to ditch the National Insurance rise due to the cost of living crisis.

A heated 90-minute debate saw councillors clash over the motion, which was not supported by the Conservative administration.

However, opposition members drew on increasing numbers of families in poverty and rising food bank usage to say more needed to be done, especially with gas and electricity price surges.

Coun Mike Pringle, member for Ollerton, said: “We’re talking about real life. Most people affected are working hard, possibly with two jobs and on low pay.

“There is strength in this chamber voting unanimously in support of our residents.”

However, Conservative members did not support the idea of writing to Chancellor Rishi Sunak calling for the financial changes to be made.

Coun Bruce Laughton, deputy leader, said there is ‘no point’ writing, because letters rarely get responses from the Government.

Coun Bradley said: “To suggest anybody doesn’t care is just incorrect when faced with the volume of projects introduced by the Government and this council.

“We should be proud of these things. There is no silver bullet, no perfect answer here. The idea that if the Chancellor stopped the National Insurance rise everybody would feel much better off instantly is not the case.

“We would just have to find funding from somewhere else for social care, hospital backlogs and other things.

“We’re not here to write letters to prove how virtuous we are.”

But Coun Jason Zadrozny, Independent Alliance leader and member for Ashfields, said: “People are struggling, they’re worried about feeding themselves or whether they can heat their homes.

“This is a genuine crisis and it would have been excellent to have unanimity. It’s not about a letter, it’s about showing the Government it needs to act in a more comprehensive way.”

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