OPINION: Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell:

It was mission critical for the government to help people in Eastbourne and Willingdon with the cost of living, especially those who have been really struggling of late with big energy bill rises and inflation.

This was something I have spoken to the Chancellor about before today’s announcement and I asked him then for targeted support that would make a difference.

I am pleased to say he has delivered just that with Thursday’s announcement and the money for those on benefits, older people and the disabled is absolutely the right call, at the right time.

Of course, the strain of these price pressures impact very widely and the £400 reduction in energy bills for every household was a surprise but a welcome one.

These announcements do follow on from how the Chancellor helped support jobs and livelihoods in our town during the pandemic through furlough and business grants and loans. It brings the government’s cost of living support up to £37 billion this year.

The measures are well thought out and can happen because of the three-year 25% Energy Profits Levy on oil and gas companies’ profits and better than expected public finances.

This levy is a smart move because it comes hand-in-hand with the new Investment Allowance to incentivise companies to invest by saving them 91p for every £1 they invest. The more a business invests, the less tax it will pay.

We need investment; it brings us jobs and skills, innovation and increased productivity. These are the tools we can use in the fight against higher prices.  These measures provide some breathing space but all this comes with a few words of caution. The price pressures we face are global in their nature and no government in the world can wholly neutralise them.