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Highland Perthshire Reacts to the Chancellor’s Spring Statement

Sunak hints at fuel duty cut as he vows to ‘stand by’ struggling households

Fuel duty will be cut by five pence per litter and the National Insurance threshold is being raised by £3,000 to the same level as the Income Tax threshold, are the highlights of the Chancellors Spring Statement.

The cut in fuel duty on petrol and diesel came into effect at 6pm on the 23rd of March. While the National Insurance threshold will be raised in July. The Chancellor also outlined the doubling of the funds available to the Household Support Fund, as well as reducing the VAT on energy saving materials such as solar panels, heating pumps and roof insulation from five per cent to zero per cent for the next five years.

Addressing Parliament Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “This statement puts billions back into the pockets of people across the UK and delivers the biggest net cut to personal taxes in over a quarter of a century.

“Like our actions against Russia, I have been able to do this because of our strong economy and the difficult but responsible decisions I have had to make to rebuild our finances following the pandemic.

“Cutting taxes means people have immediate help with the rising cost of living, businesses have better conditions to invest and grow tomorrow, and people keep more of what they earn for years to come.”

Residents on the streets of Highland Perthshire have been reacting to the news, here is what they had to say: “Hey listen, everything helps just now cause things are going a bit crazy with increases, I think they can go a bit further.”

“He’s done nothing to address the cost-of-living increases that are coming down the line i.e., gas and electricity bills that are going through the roof.”

“Well, 5p a litre isn’t that much, it needs to go down more.”

“Fair enough it’s a start but it’s not gonna make a huge amount to the normal cost of living for everybody else.”

“So yeah, it’s a start but I think that 5p will be sneaked back on at some point so, I think it will be a short-lived benefit.”

“It’s a step in the right direction.”

“I think it’s a fair compromise. Gotta do something.”

“Not enough”

Scottish Finance Secretary Kate Forbes reacted to the statement said: “The Spring Statement has failed to address the biggest challenges facing households today. With soaring energy bills and a cost-of-living crisis, the Chancellor has not used his Spring Statement sufficiently to provide lifeline support that could prevent households facing fuel poverty.

“The Scottish Government is providing a further £10 million to continue our Fuel Insecurity Fund into 2022-23, which supports people struggling with their energy bills. Most powers relating to the energy markets remain reserved and Scottish Ministers have repeatedly called for the UK Government to urgently take further action to support households – including a reduction in VAT on household energy bills and support for those on low incomes.

“We are doing all we can to tackle the cost-of-living crisis – including doubling the Scottish Child Payment from £10 per week per eligible child to £20 next month. The UK Government should have followed our lead and matched the 6% uprate on social security benefits which the Scottish Government is adding to eight of the benefits we deliver. The Chancellor failed to match that commitment which could have provided lifeline support to thousands of households.”

While in a statement Scottish Green finance spokesperson Ross Greer said: “There was nothing in Rishi Sunak’s statement to address energy bills, which are rising because of the Tories’ failure to implement price controls or to transition away from unstable fossil fuels such as gas. There was nothing to tackle rising food prices stemming from their disastrous Brexit process. And there was nothing to support those already plunged into poverty by the cuts to Universal Credit and the benefit cap.

“A costly cut in fuel duty will inflate the profit margins of fossil fuel corporations whilst having no effect on the millions of predominantly low-income families with no access to a car and who rely on public transport.”

More information on the Chancellors statement and Tax Plan can be found, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/spring-statement-2022-documents

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