Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves has called on the Government to protect the poorest people in society. Supporting an amendment that would force the government to analyse the impacts of it’s budget on low income households, Reeves highlighted the regressive effects of the VAT increase included in the Coalition Government’s budget.
In debate on the rate of VAT, Reeves, the first female MP to represent a seat in Leeds in 40 years, said
The Government’s plans to raise VAT from 17.5 to 20% are highly regressive and entirely unfair. We know that the poorest fifth of Britons pay twice as much of their disposable income in VAT – 12.1% - as the richest, who pay just 5.9%.
She pointed out that while the VAT increase will cost families and pensioners £13bn, banks are only being asked to contribute £2.4bn. The impacts are going to be felt hard in Leeds West, where average earnings are £16,000, and Rachel has slated the budget for being unfair. She said:
My constituents are being asked to make sacrifices that they can ill afford, most especially through the increase in VAT, well beyond the sacrifices that those at the top are being asked to make.
Rachel will continue to hold the Government’s plans to account, especially on measures which so strongly affect her constituents.