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MP brands cost-of-living crisis a ‘cost-of-greed crisis’ as he hits out at corporate profiteering

07 Oct 2023 3 minute read
Ceredigion MP, Ben Lake

Plaid Cymru MP for Ceredigion and the party’s Treasury spokesperson, Ben Lake MP, has blasted the UK Government’s inaction on the cost-of-living crisis.

Addressing party delegates in Aberystwyth at the annual conference, he said that the term “cost-of-living crisis” had become a “cruel cliché” that “no longer provokes action or the sense of urgency that it demands”.

He instead described it as a “greed” crisis, in which large corporations had “shamelessly” grown their profit margins while families and small businesses are forced to bear the full brunt of inflation.

Mr Lake, who is the party’s candidate for the new Ceredigion Preseli constituency for the next general election, described the current situation as “morally indefensible”.

“I do not need to remind you of the difficulties of recent years. It has become a cruel cliché, but we live in turbulent times,” he said.

“Communities across Wales have been besieged by a series of ‘unprecedented’ events that have occurred with cruel regularity: the deprivations of Brexit were followed by the hardships of the Covid pandemic, which in turn gave way to the cost-of-living crisis.

“The cost-of-living crisis is an astonishing phrase. It has become so firmly embedded in daily news bulletins and political commentary that it no longer provokes action or the sense of urgency that it demands.

“For it is a most extraordinary phenomenon that families living in the world’s sixth largest economy are unable to meet the basic costs of life, such is the lack of financial resilience in our communities after years of stagnant wage growth and retracting public services.”

Corporate profits

He added:“Large corporations have further exacerbated the crisis in the UK, by shamelessly protecting – and indeed growing – their profit margins when families and small businesses have been forced to bear the full brunt of inflation.

“Corporate profits were the biggest factor driving up prices in 2022 and will be again in 2023 unless businesses are forced to absorb rising wage bills.

“These are not my words, but the words of the head of the European Central Bank this summer. The OECD found that the average profit margins in the UK increased by almost a quarter between the end of 2019 and early 2023.

“It is striking that during a period of interlapping crises, from Covid, Brexit, and rampant inflation, the UK’s largest corporations have not only made a profit but have increased their margins substantially.

“It is morally indefensible that at a time when families are struggling to make ends meet, the most profitable corporations are planning on price gouges that according to the Bank of England will, and I quote, ‘make some contribution to inflation persistence.’

“Where is the leadership from the UK Government? What plans have they to address such profiteering?

“Why is there no talk, as there is in countries across Europe, of setting higher taxes on the profit of these corporations exceeding 120% of the average profit prior to the war in Ukraine?

“Surely it is only reasonable to ask those who have profited from this crisis to pay their fair share, and to help lighten the burden for ordinary people?

“We know that there are difficult times ahead, and must make the case for Government intervention to ensure that corporate greed does not prolong the harm of inflation.”

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6 months ago

Diolch Ben Lake. Unfortunately this greed isn’t being addressed although more & more of the general public are becoming aware of it. Let’s hope the message gets through by the next General Election. Govts make choices, current Tory choices are in favour of the super rich whilst too many people are struggling to heat & eat. Outrageously those on benefits & refugees & asylum seekers are being blamed…nothing new there..

adopted cardi
adopted cardi
6 months ago

A good man with old tried and tested, often forgotten values. Be good if all people of like mind could abandon the money god, and get back to a decent way of living, doing what we’re meant to do – i.e. look out for each other. Even those who have pulled up the ladder – in some cases the drawbridge! Be even better in Wales if Ben’s like minded politicians in Labour and their voters could join with Plaid to make a really unbeatable force. The tories have had their way (Blairs mob included) for the last 44 years with… Read more »

6 months ago

Ben Lake is a good man, tells it as it is. Most of us who can be bothered to look closely recognise rampant profiteering. Government also sees it but colludes with the culprits to cream off VAT and any other old tax revenues that accrue from such corruption. Of course they miss out on corporation tax revenues because many of the bandits engage in transfers to overseas domiciles by abusing a variety of permitted accounting practices.

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
6 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

I fully agree with the previous posters, but I feel that a word of caution needs to be inserted. Mr Lake is indeed an honourable man and an excellent MP. I feel it is essential that he be returned to parliament in the next election. However, the cloud on the horizon is the Tory’s reduction of democratic representation in Wales. The new combined constituency has many ‘conservative’ voters who are guaranteed to turn out, though I have not found out who their candidate is. Labour have selected Jackie Jones whose CV suggests a very competent candidate. Unfortunately, given her background… Read more »

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