Labour’s plan to tackle the cost of energy will put a huge strain on public finances, according to former Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis.
He told GB News: “Liz Truss has led the way on this debate in asking and making the case for a lower tax economy, putting more money in people’s pockets, committing to that emergency budget to look at what more we can do to specifically deal with these challenges ahead of that price cap review in the autumn.
“Others have been playing catch up. What we’ve seen from Labour today is something that to an extent is costed and what they have outlined, I have to say something’s going to cost in the region of what we spent on furlough through the whole of Covid.
“So quite a big pressure on public finances. What we’ve been setting out, what Liz has been setting out, is a fully costed programme with the commitment to an emergency budget to look at what more we can do in a structured and professional way.”
Asked about a windfall tax in an interview with Eamonn Holmes and Rosie Wright, he said: “If you look at what the IFS have already said today, there is arguably a £7 billion gap in what they’re doing based on their prediction of where they think things might go without outlining what that might do with inflation….rather than actually deal with the underlying issues around energy security and people’s affordability for these challenges.
“Equally, they’re looking at a retrospective tax. I think that’s always a difficult and dangerous space to be in.
But what Liz has outlined is wanting to put more money in people’s pockets in the short and medium term to deal with some of these challenges with also that commitment to the emergency budget to look at more specific things we can do to tell people.
“That’s given the Treasury and our team time between now and that emergency budget to work this through properly so we come up with a package that actually works for and delivers for people.”
Asked about a cap on energy prices introduced in France, Mr Lewis told GB News: “We’ve got a different structure obviously to the energy industry in France, to all the state ownership in France.
“What we’ve got to look at here is how we help people with a general cost of living because what we’ve got to do is ensure we’re not pushing up inflation.
“Again, these plans are based on working to hold back inflation and making sure we’ve got more money in people’s pockets.”
He added: “That’s why she’s particularly outlined those tax reductions that she has as a principle of a lower tax economy looking to get higher growth. Yes, we want better energy security that does take time.
“That’s why as I say the chancellor and the chief secretary… can give to people an emergency budget so it’s properly structured, but Liz has been the one leading the way on how we get more money in people’s pockets in the very beginning and we’ve been consistent about that.”
Source: GB News