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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

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Chancellor has huge task to get cold and debt-ridden back on side

Debt – the modern-day plague that is infecting more and more of us. We discovered this week that more than 1,500 families in our region owe more than £3million in debts.

George Osborne photo
George Osborne

Our foodbanks are battling to cope with a staggering 70 per cent surge in demand and the Bank of England reports that more and more households are raiding their savings at the fastest rate in modern record in a desperate bid to keep up with the spiralling cost of living.

Not the happiest backdrop for George Osborne to present his Chancellor’s Autumn Statement today.

The Government insists the economy is picking up, that there are more jobs being created, more wealth being generated.

That may be the case in the case in the south of the country, but it does not yet seem to have rippled up to Cumbria.

The Chancellor was expected to focus on measures to help households deal with the rising cost of living, including energy bills.

He has an awful lot of ground to make up for a Government that has appeared flippant and uncaring in its attitude to an increasingly worrying issue.

First PM David Cameron suggested that those struggling to heat their homes should wear “another jumper”.

Then former Government whip Baroness Rawlings said the Government should encourage people to use electric blankets as a “simple, practical” way to cut down on heating bills.

She said that she herself uses electric blanket to warm up her bed in her 13-bedroom, 12-bathroom Georgian hall in Norfolk because heating bills are so high...

The comments would be funny if they didn’t reveal a casual disdain for the real, underlying problem that more and more of us are struggling to cope with a rising cost of living and sinking living standards.

Today was a chance for the Chancellor to make up on a lot of lost ground among average voters. If they don’t, they’ll find themselves frozen out at the ballot box.

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