I’ve been back in Westminster this week, after a short break for the party conferences. Parliament is in a state of huge excitement about the state of Liz Truss’s government. Conservative MPs are openly telling Labour colleagues that the situation in their party is dire. There’s endless speculation about Kwasi Kwarteng’s future as chancellor of the exchequer – and indeed whether the government will survive. We’ve had U-turn after U-turn since the mini budget, so who knows what will happen next! I’m writing this as I sit on the train home to Manchester on Thursday evening. I wouldn’t like to make any predictions about how things will be by the time you read it!
But despite the black humour around Westminster, the situation is very serious for my constituents. Mortgage rates have rocketed, and many deals have been withdrawn by lenders. The pound is spiralling downwards in the money markets. Food prices are soaring. And even with the energy price cap beginning to take effect, many families face frighteningly high bills.
We are now promised a further statement from the chancellor at the end of the month. But we really can’t afford to wait that long. He should withdraw his budget now and start again, cancel the tax cuts for top earners, uprate social security benefits in line with inflation, and Therese Coffey needs to get a grip on the NHS before winter pressures hit.
On a happier note, it was a great pleasure to attend the Summer Reading Awards at Urmston library last weekend. Children had to read 6 books over the summer to gain an award (I struggled to manage that, to be honest!), and it was lovely to hear how much they’d enjoyed the books they’d read. Congratulations to all the young readers who received their certificates!