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26th Jun, 2022

Nigel Huddleston's Westminster Diary

Rob George 21st May, 2022

EVESHAM’s MP Nigel Huddleston writes for the Observer…

AS THE war in Ukraine continues, I am cautiously optimistic about the progress of the Ukrainian armed forces in repelling Russian forces whilst also managing to evacuate soldiers and civilians from Mariupol. The impact of the crisis continues to be felt across the world, including here at home.

The price of grain has soared in recent months, with over 20 million tonnes stranded in silos in Ukraine. The price of gas continues to be a challenge and many nations seek to urgently divest themselves of Russian supplies. The knock-on effect is higher food costs, higher energy costs, and higher prices at the petrol pumps.

It is right that the Government responds to the situation, and it has already started by providing over £22 billion in support to date including a £150 Council Tax rebate for those living in Band D households and £200 off energy bills. The support package also includes a further £144m for local councils across the UK to support the most deprived households.

The Government has also increased the National Living Wage to £9.50 per hour; reduced the Universal Credit Taper Rate putting on average an extra £1,000 in the pockets of 2 million families. Fuel Duty has been frozen for the 12th year in a row, (saving motorists £1,900 since 2010) and the TV Licence Fee has been frozen. For our youngsters there is support with healthy meals over the holidays via the Ready Steady Worcestershire Scheme, and if your child is in Key Stage 1 in most schools in Worcestershire, they are eligible for free school meals until they move to Key Stage 2.

If you are struggling with the cost of living, help and support is available and local councillors and I will always do whatever I can to support you with navigating the system based on your individual circumstances.

As we go forwards, it is important we build a system that supports people and reduces barriers to getting on in life and work.  The unemployment rate is at its lowest rate since 1974 and for the first time ever, there are more job vacancies in the UK than there are people to fill them.

The new session of parliament started a couple of weeks ago with the Queen’s speech delivered by Prince Charles in the absence of Her Majesty the Queen.  The speech highlighted nearly 40 laws that the government intends to bring in over the next year and I will provide further information on many of these in future updates.

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