Home UK & World McFadden says the government is accepting Labour’s economic policies

McFadden says the government is accepting Labour’s economic policies


A shadow cabinet minister has suggested the Conservative Party and Jeremy Hunt as chancellor are following Labour’s lead in a number of key budget announcements expected later today.

Reports first seen in Guardian The chancellor is believed to be promising 30 hours of childcare a week for working parents of one- and two-year-olds as part of a multibillion-dollar announcement.

The plan to offer 30 hours of free childcare for children aged one and two was originally the brainchild of the Labor Party, which the party said would be a “game changer” for parents.

Families with children aged one and two currently do not receive benefits after parental leave ends and before free nursery hours are offered for three and four-year-olds.

Childcare costs in the UK are also some of the most expensive in the world, with full-time childcare for a child under two last year averaging £269 a week or £14,000 a year .

Responding to rumors of a budget that is expected to be £4 billion, shadow chief secretary Pat McFadden said the government was accepting Labour’s proposals.

He said: “It’s one of a number of things we’ve been calling for, if the pre-Budget speculation, leaks and briefings that the government is going to do are to be believed.”

He added: “There’s a bit of a pattern here when we demand things like an extension of the energy price guarantee or fuel duty – when we’ve been accused of being incredibly wasteful financially and the rivers are flowing and Labor is going to bankrupt the country – and in a few weeks the government accepted what we say.”

Talking to Sky NewsMr McFadden said childcare costs in the UK were “so expensive for parents that it has become a workforce issue. All the companies we talk to talk about the shortage of personnel.”

He added: “We are going to look at the details of what has been announced today, but Labor has been saying for some time that we need to help parents with childcare if we are serious about tackling the workforce.”

Mr McFadden also drew attention to the government’s energy spending proposals. The chancellor is expected to extend the energy price guarantee, which currently caps the average annual bill at £2,500.

Mr Hunt will also scrap plans to raise this limit to £3,000, with the £2,500 annual cap continuing for three months from April. However, it is expected to scrap the £400 winter discount which applied to every household.

Mr McFadden noted: “I don’t mind if we lead the way as long as we do the right thing and I think it’s important to do that because the cost of living crisis hasn’t gone away, people are really struggling to pay their bills and now time those bills were due to rise by another £500 a year in a couple of weeks.’

He also argued that government spending should be brought under closer scrutiny, with a series of pre-budget announcements pointing to big budget spending.

“The government has announced quite a lot of spending in recent days,” Mr McFadden said, “we’ve had £5bn for defence, potentially £4bn for this other announcement today.

“I don’t mind being asked how you’re going to fund things, but I hope that’s a question for Conservative ministers and not just for Labor MPs.”

The Chancellor is expected to deliver his Spring Budget at 12.30pm after Prime Minister’s Questions.

As well as electricity bills and childcare benefits, Mr Hunt is also predicted to announce an increase to the lifetime pension, which means the amount of money a person can save for retirement before they start paying tax.

The chancellor called the financial event a “back to work” budget.

As part of the new proposals, older workers will be offered ‘return’, meaning flexible skills training based on previous experience, with an extra 8,000 ‘boot camp’ places to the 56,000 currently on offer.

Meanwhile, despite calls from the right-wing Conservative Party to cut taxes, Hunt is expected to maintain his stance on taxes.

Next month, corporation tax is due to rise from 19% to 25% on profits over £250,000.

The change, first announced by Rishi Sunak in his Spring Budget 2021 as chancellor, is expected to raise around £12 billion a year to the Exchequer, according to government forecasts.

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