Thursday 29 February 2024
 6°C   SSW Fresh Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Politics / Positive step forward or ‘out of touch’? Mixed views on chancellor statement

ORKNEY and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael has accused the Conservatives of “incompetence and chaos” following tax hikes and cuts to public spending.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt delivered an autumn statement this morning (Thursday) in a bid to “restore stability to the economy, protect high-quality public services and build long-term prosperity for the United Kingdom”.

The UK Government points to measures like extra £26 billion of support for the cost of living and an increase in the oil and gas windfall tax.

But Carmichael said it is “less of a cost-of-living budget than a ‘cost of Conservative chaos’ budget”.

Isles MP Alistair Carmichael.

“Everyone else is being forced to pay the price for the government’s incompetence over recent months,” the Liberal Democrat said.

“It is not good enough for the Chancellor to act as though the mess created by his colleagues has nothing to do with him.”

Among the measures relevant to island communities was doubling the winter energy support payment for households using heating oil from £100 to £200.

However, Hunt stopped short of imposing a price cap on heating oil as suggested by Carmichael.

The chancellor also confirmed that a windfall tax on the profits of oil and gas firms will increase by ten per cent to 35 per cent, and be extended through to 2028.

A temporary 45 per cent tax on companies that generate electricity will be applied from January.

Meanwhile the national minimum/living wage for people aged 23 and over will increase by nearly 10 per cent to £10.42 an hour from April.

The statement included tens of billions of tax rises and spending cuts as the UK enters a recession.

For example income tax, personal allowance and higher rate thresholds will be frozen for a further two years until April 2028.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

 

The state pension, benefits and tax credits will rise in line with inflation and additional cost of living payments were announced for the most vulnerable.

But the energy price guarantee which will ‘cap’ average UK energy bills at £2,500, will only stay in place until April – at which point this cap will rise to £3,000.

These figures relate to the average UK household usage, meaning that if you use more than you will pay more.

Highlands and Islands Conservative Jamie Halcro Johnston.

Highlands and Islands Conservative MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston said there were “positive announcements in key issues” that impact his region.

“There is a continued commitment to the levelling-up agenda, with funding to be protected,” he said.

“I have lobbied the prime minister on support for those in off-grid homes, often reliant on oil or LPG for their heating, so I am pleased to see that the Alternative Fuel Payments will be doubled for domestic customers – with additional support for off-grid businesses.

“A £13 billion package of support for business rates payers in England will bring Barnett consequentials for the Scottish Government and it is vital that this money is used to back businesses here in Scotland and protect jobs.

“The chancellor has also increased the levy on profits of energy producers, ensuring that there is recognition that they must play their part during this period.”

While the Tory MSP believed the autumn statement was a “positive step”, Carmichael said it showed an “out of touch government”.

“I am glad at least that the chancellor has committed to maintaining the triple lock for pensioners and an inflation-matching increase on benefits but that is really the least we should expect for the most vulnerable right now,” he added.

“We need a fair deal, including support for people unable to afford skyrocketing mortgage bills and rents and energy costs.

“This could be paid for by reversing tax cuts for banks and a proper windfall tax, instead of imposing years of stealth taxes on ordinary families.”

Deputy Scottish first minster John Swinney said: “Inflation is eating away at the Scottish budget, and due to the lack of additional funding in 2022-23 and the financial restrictions of devolution, we have had no choice but to make savings of more than £1 billion.

“The constant U-turns on tax by the UK Government have made planning for the Scottish Budget more challenging this year. We will take time to consider the implications for Scotland before setting out our own plans as part of the normal budget process.”

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.

 

Newsletters

Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.