Local Liberal Democrats demand action on cost of living crisis – South Lanarkshire hit by NI bombshell

The National Insurance increase brought in by the Conservative government will cost South Lanarkshire businesses and households over £0 million a year, according to figures obtained by the Liberal Democrats – with a typical household paying an average of £145 more. The NI increase is on top of unprecedented rises in energy prices and rapidly rising inflation.

National Insurance payments went up this week (April 6) from 12.5% to 13.25%, after Boris Johnson’s decision to break a Conservative manifesto promise and hike the tax.

The latest figures from the Office for Budget Responsibility predict that the country is facing a £10.9 billion tax hit this year from the move, with around 40% of this being paid by workers and the rest by businesses.

Local Liberal Democrats are calling for urgent action to help families affected by the crisis and have suggested a cut in VAT would both help to cut prices and stimulate business. The Party have set out plans to “kill two birds with one stone,” by slashing the top rate of VAT to 17.5% this year. The move would save families an average of £600 and give businesses a boost by encouraging spending and keeping prices low. The party has put the issue at the heart of their local election campaign.

Councillor Robert Brown, Liberal Democrat Group Leader on South Lanarkshire Council, said he had spoken to many families who were stunned by the pressure on living costs and didn’t know how they would manage.

Robert Brown said:

“The cost of living crisis is unprecedented and swamps all our normal political debates – it needs unprecedented action to help people cope.

It is not just household budgets either. Local businesses are also set to feel the squeeze – they often face supply chains disrupted by Brexit, Covid and the war in Ukraine. They also pay two thirds of the NI rise in Employers’ contributions.

That is why Liberal Democrats are calling for an emergency cut in VAT to help put money back in the pockets of struggling families.

Families in our area are being crippled by the worst cost of living crisis in a generation, struggling to put food on the table and afford sky-high energy bills.

The last thing they need is an unfair tax raid. Yet the Conservatives are piling on the misery by breaking their promise not to hike up national insurance, in a move that will hit our community hard.

Meanwhile, the SNP have been in power for 15 years, starving councils of funds and cutting back on local services. Their focus is stuck on an unwanted independence referendum when it ought to be on getting out vital support to people struggling with the cost of living crisis.

These elections are an opportunity to send a message to both the Conservatives and the SNP that they can’t afford to take South Lanarkshire for granted any longer.

Our plans would kill two birds with one stone, helping those struggling to make ends meet while giving our local businesses the shot in the arm they need.”

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