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