Policing Minister and MP for North West Hampshire Kit Malthouse has just received a £2,212 pay rise, along with other MPs – but still saw fit to complain on the same day about the cost of oil to heat his family home in the countryside. In a series of interviews this morning in front of a log fire Mr Malthouse admitted that the energy price rises to kick in today will make life “tough” for millions of people.
He went on to complain about his family’s situation, despite earning £115,824 a year as of today – nearly five times the UK average salary. The father of three told LBC: “Obviously the day-to-day is quite tricky.
“As you know, I’ve got children. They need to be fed and that cost is rising. My fuel prices are rising quite significantly, and I have to say that in my constituency I’m on oil central heating still, sadly.
“Oil, I’m afraid to tell you, doesn’t come under the energy price cap, and lots of people in rural areas are suffering from the oil price rise.
“So we are feeling it very significantly. I have to confess to you, we did convert last year to electric vehicles, so we are feeling the electric price but not through the petrol. So it is a challenge for everybody.”
MP salaries are increasing for the first time in two years, after the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) announced that they would be increasing by 2.7 percent.
The boost to MPs earnings comes on the same day that the biggest increase in domestic energy bills in living memory comes into effect – and in just a few days’ time, national insurance contributions will increase by 1.25 percent.
Rishi Sunak’s Spring Statement, expected to provide relief for the 6.5 million households predicted to no longer be able to heat their homes by charity National Energy Action, has been criticised for failing to do just that.
Families across the UK will see a £1,600 hit to their income.
The government’s decision to increase the energy price cap will see it jump from £1,277 to £1,971, an increase of £693. Official forecasts predict this will increase by a further £788 in October.
This comes as inflation hits a 30 year high, all while millions brace for a rise in their contributions to National Insurance.
Mr Sunak’s plan to help families includes raising the level of earnings at which people pay National Insurance to £12,750 in July, a 12-month long cut of 5p per litre for fuel duty, and a decrease in two years’ time of 1 percent of the basic rate of income tax.
The statement has been widely blasted for failing to help millions of homes who will face major economic difficulty, with one Cabinet minister telling the Times today that the hep was “not enough”, adding: “It doesn’t even touch the sides for a lot of families. It feels unsustainable.”
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The Resolution Foundation think tank estimate the number of English households in fuel stress, defined as those spending at least 10 percent of their budgets on energy bills, was set to double overnight from 2.5 to 5 million.
Mr Malthouse did attempt to defend Mr Sunak, saying he had “moved quite extensively to try and help,” although adding: “It is going to be hard.”
Like Mr Malthouse, Mr Sunak has been criticised for claiming to sympathise with struggling families despite himself being in a comfortable financial situation, married to a billionaire.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer further twisted the knife today, telling Sky News: “People don’t want a revolution. They do want to know ”how am I going to pay my energy bill which has just gone up today by hundreds of pounds?’
“This is a significant and worrying day for millions of people.’
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He added: “For the Government to decide to impose more tax in national insurance, now is the wrong time. It’s the wrong tax at the wrong time.
“I think most people are clear that … the Government really needed to step up in its spring statement last week. They failed to do so and their response is frankly pathetic on a very, very difficult day for millions of people.
“Energy bills are going up far more than we’ve ever seen on record. People are really struggling and I just don’t think the Government gets it.”
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said the Government had put in place support worth £22billion. He added that the Government cannot do “absolutely everything to cover off some of these pressures that we are seeing globally”.
But he said ministers would keep the situation under review, adding: “We are ready to take further steps if needed to support households”.