Derbyshire activists demonstrate outside Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s office ahead of budget statement
Members of Derbyshire’s Unite Community Union traveled to Northallerton in Mr Sunak’s North Yorkshire constituency on Friday to seek ‘advice’ from the Chancellor on how to balance their own budgets.
It comes ahead of the Chancellor’s Spring Statement on Wednesday, and Derbyshire campaigners and Universal Credit seekers wore the iconic red briefcases, which have become a symbol of the budget.
An activist has delivered a letter to the chancellor’s office asking how he is supposed to budget when the rising cost of food, energy and transport pushes his spending past his income.
Unite Community Coordinator Heather Blakey said: “No one in this country should have to choose between heating and eating.
“The Chancellor must not use his spring budget to propose a package of measures, including reinstating and extending the £20-a-week Universal Credit hike sorely ripped off last October and increasing benefits according to the ‘inflation.
“If he doesn’t, people could die, and that’s no exaggeration.”
Derbyshire Unemployed Workers Center spokesman Colin Hampton, who helped organize the visit, said Mr Sunak needed to help people in the county live with “dignity”.
“The Chancellor is a millionaire, like many of his colleagues, and has no idea of the day-to-day decision-making that many people have to make when it comes to spending on the essentials of life.
“The Chancellor will talk about being careful and ‘not spending more than you earn’, but ordinary people don’t have the capacity to conjure money from the printing press or issuing bonds.
“The stark reality for millions of people is that they face tough choices and years of debt.
“It is not necessary, and the Chancellor could ease the burden by using his office and his budget to raise people’s incomes, whether they work or not, to a level that would mean they could live in dignity and not live in fear of the letter in the brown envelope or of the household appliance that breaks down.
Reports say the Treasury is looking at ways to ease the cost of living crisis in the spring statement.