Government is failing to protect those on low-incomes

Kate’s latest column for the Shields Gazette:

We are now in the opening weeks of 2022 and one of the biggest issues is the dramatic rise in energy prices.

The worrying cost of gas and electricity is hitting working-class people the hardest and many constituents have already contacted me saying they are already seeing a sharp rise in their bills. I was advised by one constituent that he had been quoted a whopping £246 per month when he was looking at price comparison sites

It is predicted that energy bills are going to rise by up to 50 per cent for millions of households when the energy price cap is adjusted in April.  It is feared that many families could be paying out an unprecedented £2,000 a year, which would leave many people below the breadline.

The explosion of food banks over the past decade-plus under the Conservatives is about more than just hunger – it’s about what sort of society this country has become. 

It is a society where over 15 million people are living in poverty and working people have no choice but to turn to a food bank because their wages simply don’t cover their bills.

It is heartbreaking that one in three children is judged to be living in poverty in this area.


With Council Tax set to rise in April, as well as national insurance, many families are wondering how they are going to get through the coming months. 


I work closely with our local Citizens Advice Bureau in South Tyneside, who do such an outstanding job assisting many families in the Borough, and I am told that energy bills are the second biggest area of debt behind Council Tax.  Historically, energy bills were 7th on that list and the increase in fuel debt directly correlates to increases in foodbank referrals.         


The reality of the huge struggles working people face under this Government hits home when figures from the Trussell Trust show that the need for foodbanks has increased by



This is a damning indictment on this Government and their dreadful running of this country. 

How are families going to manage when they’ve been quoted with an 89% increase in fuel bills?

It comes as no surprise that this Government voted down a Motion tabled by Labour in Westminster recently to cut VAT on home energy bills, which would have saved many households hundreds of pounds a year.  

The Government need to get their head out of the sand and get a hold of this escalating crisis.  

It should not come down to a choice between heating or eating.

Meanwhile, big businesses continue to bring in huge profits and proud, working people are once again forced to pick up the bill. Just this week the Government refused a motion put forward by Labour to introduce a Windfall Tax which would see oil and gas companies pay their fair share.

This is a Government that cares little for the people of this country, particularly the north. Their actions during the pandemic are proof alone – but the failure to support and protect people who are on low incomes, struggling to make ends meet, is yet another failure.