Labour’s Angela Rayner expresses concern over energy inflation during Erdington visit

Angela Rayner paid a visit to Erdington on Thursday alongside MP candidate Paulette Hamilton

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Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner paid a visit to Erdington on Thursday (February 4), alongside party candidate Paulette Hamilton, who is hoping to hold the constituency for Labour at the forthcoming by-election on March 3.

The ballot was triggered after the death of incumbent Labour MP Jack Dromey last month.

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After touring an upcycling centre on Castle Vale’s High Street, in Erdington, and the nearby foodbank, run by the Spitfire Advice and Support Service, Ms Rayner said energy inflation was “a huge problem for people, now”.

She said that together with the planned 1.25% increase in National Insurance and more general inflationary price rises, the government had to do more to “urgently” tackle the problems affecting working families.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer earlier announced a package of measures to help households.

Labour Deputy Leader Angela Rayner (centre) and Labour's candidate for Birmingham Erdington Paulette Hamilton (left), talk to staff at a food bank during a visit to Spitfire Support Services in Castle ValeLabour Deputy Leader Angela Rayner (centre) and Labour's candidate for Birmingham Erdington Paulette Hamilton (left), talk to staff at a food bank during a visit to Spitfire Support Services in Castle Vale
Labour Deputy Leader Angela Rayner (centre) and Labour's candidate for Birmingham Erdington Paulette Hamilton (left), talk to staff at a food bank during a visit to Spitfire Support Services in Castle Vale

What did Ms Rayner say during her visit to Birmingham?

Ms Rayner praised foodbank workers during the visit, after hearing that at the height of the pandemic up to 150 bags of groceries were being delivered to households – and they were continuing to provide 45 bags a week to deprived families.

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She said: “We’re in the winter months at the moment, it’s cold and that is really going to thump working families.

“At the same time we’ve got this National Insurance hike, the tax that they’re going to put on working families.

“Work should be able to provide for people so they can live a good quality of life.

“In this country, that’s not the case at the moment.

“You can see that when we had the problem in the 1980s, where industries shut down, whole communities didn’t recover – men who never got a job again after being made redundant from the manufacturing industries.

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“It scars the whole of the community and their children for a generation, so the government really should do something about this urgently.”

Ms Hamilton also praised the work of upcycling store staff and the foodbanks, but added that “in this day and age, in 2022, this should not be happening”.

She said: “Although they’re doing a phenomenal job, I am really worried about the fact that we’ve got the rises coming, in gas, electricity, I am worried about inflation and people’s shopping bills.

“More so I am worried that 1.25% rise in National Insurance, so people will be losing over £1,000 each year from their wage packets and it means they’ll be much worse off.”

Labour Deputy Leader Angela Rayner (right) and Labour's candidate for Birmingham Erdington Paulette Hamilton, during a visit to Spitfire Support Services in Castle Vale near Birmingham. Labour Deputy Leader Angela Rayner (right) and Labour's candidate for Birmingham Erdington Paulette Hamilton, during a visit to Spitfire Support Services in Castle Vale near Birmingham.
Labour Deputy Leader Angela Rayner (right) and Labour's candidate for Birmingham Erdington Paulette Hamilton, during a visit to Spitfire Support Services in Castle Vale near Birmingham.
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She added: “Places like this are seeing an increase in people coming back, needing – not just food – but needing white goods, they’re needing clothes, they’re needing shoes, because they just can’t afford it, once they’ve tried to pay the bills.”

She said measures announced on Thursday by the Chancellor were “absolutely” not enough.

“Tax those that can afford it, at source, so you can help those that unfortunately cannot afford it,” she said.

“People are absolutely worried about the pending rises, on the doorstep.”

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Ms Hamilton also said that, if elected, she would be happy to work with the Conservative West Midlands mayor Andy Street, who – through the recently announced Levelling Up White Paper – was set to play a broader role in negotiating for more Government investment into the city.

She said: “I will work with anybody to make the lives of the people of Erdington and the constituency better.”

Rishi Sunak has said that the country will need to “adjust” to soaring energy prices after the announcement that bills are set to rise by nearly £700 each year. (Credit: PA)Rishi Sunak has said that the country will need to “adjust” to soaring energy prices after the announcement that bills are set to rise by nearly £700 each year. (Credit: PA)
Rishi Sunak has said that the country will need to “adjust” to soaring energy prices after the announcement that bills are set to rise by nearly £700 each year. (Credit: PA)

What has the Conservative Party said about the rising energy costs?

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said the British public will “have to adjust” to soaring energy prices, after it was announced bills are set to rise by £693 every year.

On Thursday industry watchdog Ofgem announced the price cap on energy bills will be increased from April.

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Around 22 million households will be affected by the price increase, with bills set to increase by around 54% taking the annual total to a record £1,971.

In response to the price increase, Mr Sunak announced a range of measures which he says will help households to cope with the spiralling costs.

During a press conference, Mr Sunak said the rise in energy prices will hit not only the poorest families but also middle-income families.

He said: “The factors that are driving gas prices higher are global in their nature.

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“I don’t have a crystal ball as to what the future holds but I want to be honest with people.

“Higher energy prices are something we will have to adjust to, in common with other countries around the world and it would be wrong to pretend otherwise but what we can do is slow that adjustment to make it more manageable for people’s household budgets.”

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