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“The choice between heating and eating isn’t just a political slogan, it’s the reality for far too many people”

Written by on 07/04/2022


Sir Keir Starmer visited a North Staffordshire engineering firm today (April 7) to discuss the impact of rising energy costs on energy intensive industries.

The Labour leader met staff and apprentices at KMF Precision Sheet Metal, in Newcastle-under-Lyme, which is one of the largest sheet metal engineering and metal fabrication companies in the UK.

Sir Keir’s visit comes at a critical time for families and businesses across the UK who are facing a huge increase in gas and electric bills.

During his visit, Sir Keir told StokeonTrentLive : “I think it’s tragic that we’ve got people who are literally sitting at home with extra loads of clothing or because they’re too scared to put the heating on.

“That is a complete failure of government. These energy bills were high enough before – they then went up by hundreds of pounds for many people last week. And now we’ve got this image of people sitting there scared to put their heating on and where the choice between heating and eating isn’t just a political slogan, it’s the reality for far too many people.”



Keir Starmer meets staff and apprentices at KMF Precision Sheet Metal
Keir Starmer meets staff and apprentices at KMF Precision Sheet Metal

He added: “What we would do is take the excess profits that oil and gas companies have made in the North Sea because of the high global price and use that directly to reduce the energy cost by up to £600 per bill for those who need it most.

“That’s the kind of practical answer that I think you need from a political party. The response from the government has been quite frankly pathetic, because they’ve said: ‘well, you can have a loan in October’ – so six months after the bill goes up – ‘of about 200 pounds, but you’ll have to pay it back’.

“So they’re shielding oil and gas companies, whilst asking those that are already paying those bills to pay the money back with loans they don’t want to take. I think the government is totally, totally out of touch with the reality for millions of people – after 12 years of a Tory Government.”

Sir Keir’s arrival in North Staffordshire came a day after the National Insurance rise was introduced in England as part of a government plan to claw back billions for the NHS and social care.

It also comes a month before voters in Newcastle borough prepare to head to the polls on May 5 to elect new councillors.

At the moment there are 23 Conservative councillors, 18 Labour councillors, two Lib Dems and one independent.

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On the local election, Sir Keir said: “I’m very conscious, we’ve got to earn every vote. We’ve made huge changes in the Labour Party since the 2019 general election defeat.

“We’ve got practical answers to the problems that I think many people are struggling with today – the most important of which is the cost of living crisis.”



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