Residence of the British Prime Minister, Downing Street, London.
Photo by Nick Kane on Unsplash

This morning the Chancellor unveiled a new Growth Plan for the UK economy, laying out a raft of supply side policies and tax cuts. Unfortunately, the new measures will do very little for communities and businesses across the country struggling to make ends due to the cost of living crisis.

Families and businesses throughout the UK are being pushed to the brink financially by the soaring prices of energy. The Co-operative Party has been calling for urgent support for both domestic and non-domestic energy consumers, including expanding and extending the Household Support Fund.

The Government’s new announcement of the Energy Price Guarantee still leaves the most economically vulnerable households without adequate support. We believe the Government has missed the chance to double the Household Support Fund, which provides critical financial support to families and pensioners across the UK. The Household Support Fund provides a local safety net which provides support for essentials such as food, water and energy bills. Doubling the Fund would help to protect the most vulnerable at a time when millions are at risk of slipping into poverty.
The new Energy Bill Relief Scheme for non-domestic organisations must ensure support for vulnerable businesses, co-operatives and organisations which provide much needed goods and services to the British public. Food retailers are vital to preventing people from sliding into food poverty and many, such as the Co-op Group, have gone above and beyond to help deliver food justice.

Extended support must be available for community owned businesses, which are often lifelines for essential goods for local communities. Both food retailers and community owned businesses must be included in the Government’s review of extended energy support for 2023.

The Chancellor’s new announcement of Investment Zones fails to put in place a plan to deliver inclusive productivity growth. Rather than spending money on tax giveaways the Government missed the chance to undertake new investment in skills and infrastructure. We have been calling for a Co-operative Green New Deal which would invest in our communities to deliver real levelling up and economic growth. We believe investment in green technologies, innovation and skills will be key to delivering sustainable, inclusive growth to all communities. Investment is far more effective catalyst for growth than tax cuts at a time of low productivity growth.

It is clear the Government’s Growth Plan has missed a major opportunity to support our communities and businesses whilst unlocking real growth for the future. The Co-operative Party will continue to campaign for action which delivers a fairer, greener and more prosperous Britain for all.