Rachel Reeves tore into Rishi Sunak’s mini-budget today, describing the chancellor as “Ted Heath with an Instagram account”.
The Labour shadow chancellor made the comments as she responded to Sunak’s spring statement.
It comes after the chancellor slashed fuel duty by 5p and scrapped national insurance payments for the poorest workers in a bid to tackle the cost of living crisis.
The measures were unveiled on Wednesday as inflation hit a new 30-year high of 6.2 per cent - more than three times the Bank of England’s target.
Reeves told the Commons: “I understand that the chancellor has a portrait of Nigel Lawson above his desk, well, today we’ve got an energy price crisis, record prices at the pump, inflation is back.
“The truth is, he’s not Nigel Lawson, he is Ted Heath with an Instagram account.”
During her speech, she even accused Sunak of “helping out” those “swindling” the taxpayer and described him as “Alice in Sunak-land”.
“In Sunak-land, the chancellor claims ‘I believe in lower taxes’ while at the same time as hiking Alice’s national insurance contributions,” she quipped.
Reeves said the Conservatives had become the “party of high taxation because they are the party of low growth”.
The shadow chancellor also said the government’s plan did nothing for people on the edge of fuel poverty or for pensioners who are facing a “real-terms cut” to their income.
Reeves said increasing energy prices would mean Labour’s plan for a windfall tax on energy companies’ profits would raise twice as much as when it was proposed in January and could be used to cut VAT and provide a targeted warm home discount.
She said despite the chancellor’s “reluctant measures” he was still taking money out of people’s purses and wallets with his increase in national insurance contributions.
The MP for Leeds West also slammed the chancellor’s decision to “sign off” on a reduction in the size of the army and called on the government to confirm whether this was still its plan.
During his statement, Sunak said he was taking the emergency measures “to help people now” as they brace themselves for soaring bills from next month.
And in a major surprise, he announced that the basic rate of income tax will be cut from 20p to 19p in the pound by the next election.