ENERGY prices are going up. Food prices seem to go up every time you visit the supermarket. Petrol prices don’t seem to know any other direction than up, either. And its going to get worse.

Inflation is predicted to hit seven per cent. Interest rates are rising too, putting pressure on mortgages. National Insurance will rise in April, hitting hardworking families – it is the wrong tax at the wrong time.

But don’t worry, the Conservative government will lend you £200 to help you pay off your energy bill and then expect you to pay it back. No help at all really, just a loan – a buy now, pay later scheme.

The combined impact of the energy price hike and the National Insurance increase will take £1,000 a year out of the pockets of the average household.

According to another Government report, almost five and half million people see themselves facing tough choices when it comes to putting food on the table. The worst hit area is the North East, closely followed by North West England.

And in 2021, the price of food basics, such as pasta, went up by 26 per cent, bread 29 per cent, a tin of baked beans 45 per cent.

So much for the Government’s plan to level up the region to be the same as the rest of the country. Building new train stations and new roads is one thing, but so is being paid enough to put food on the table and so many of our neighbours aren’t able to do that after 12 years of Conservative government.

I remember a time when foodbanks weren’t even a thing, and then the Conservatives were elected in 2010 and all that changed. Now, nearly every community, big or small, has access to a foodbank because of food poverty. Over the past five years, their need has increased by 128 per cent, according to the largest foodbank provider, the Trussell Trust.

The Conservative Party’s 2019 manifesto said: “We will ensure everyone has access to healthy nutritious food…” That obviously isn’t happening when families are left to chose between eating or heating. The food maybe there, but they can’t afford to buy it.

All this needs addressing, but the Conservatives are too busy rallying around trying to save Boris Johnson’s skin. Except for a few honourable exceptions, like Skipton and Ripon’s Julian Smith, most Conservative Members of Parliament act as though it doesn’t matter that their leader broke lockdown rules to party, while the rest of us were parted from loved ones.

I can’t see how a Prime Minister who breaks the rules he expects everyone else to live by can be trusted to deliver the promises he makes. I think he’s been found out for the charlatan he is.

When ever Boris Johnson speaks in the future to announce some plan or other, people will listen and think to themselves: “But can I trust him?”

I think we know the answer to that question is: “No.”

  • Phil Wilson is the former Labour MP for Sedgefield