Last Friday when Kwasi Kwarteng published his Growth Plan which is now being challenged in many settings, there was the opportunity for MPs to raise their support or their challenges of the Growth Plan. Given that here in Sussex we have 16 MPs and 5 or 6 of them are Ministers (it has not been made clear if Maria Caulfield has been re-emerged as a Minister) at least 10 of our local MPs that are not Government Ministers could have responded. We have two Labour MPs, one Green MP and 7 or 8 Conservative MPs who could have commented. Sadly only two bothered to respond. As it happens both of them are not Conservatives and so none of the 7 or 8 Conservatives bothered to take part. The first Sussex MP to raise her comment was Caroline Lucas from the Green Party.
Caroline: This Budget amounts to an environment wrecker’s charter and it is a statement of missed opportunities. For example, a report just this week shows that a major programme of insulating homes in Britain and installing heat pumps could benefit the economy by £7 billion a year, create 140,000 jobs by 2030, get our fuel bills down and get climate emissions down too. Tucked away on page 14 of the growth report is a tiny reference to some investment in energy efficiency. It is nowhere near enough. Why is the Chancellor setting his face against the kind of retrofit revolution that offers the only viable way out of the current crisis, as well as reducing our dependence on fossil fuels? Is it because, for him, dogma and deregulation trump evidence and common sense every time?
Kwasi: It is not about dogma and deregulation. In fact, I campaigned for the eco and energy efficiency measures when I was Business Secretary and ensured that there was reference in the growth plan to the eco plan. We may well expand that at a future date.
Lloyd Russell-Moyle who is a Labour MP was the second Sussex MP who responded and tragically he was the final Sussex responder. This was his challenge and the response from Kwasi Kwarteng
Lloyd: The reality is that this is a class war Budget. It is an ideological Budget. It is about taking from the poor and giving to the rich. It is about lining their pockets. It is about them and us. That party over there has said, “We do not care about ordinary people in this country; we care about piling on debt. We will make ordinary people pay while our chums in the City get rich.” And will those chums spend the money on the economy? No: they will squirrel it away in tax havens around the world, because that is what they have always done. Is this Budget not a disgrace?
Kwasi: Let me reiterate that reversing the national insurance increase, which Labour supported—[Interruption.] Three months ago, Labour voted against the increase in national insurance. I reversed that: we reversed it. That helps people—the 1p cut in the basic rate helps people. That is not class war.
So does this mean that the 7 or 8 Conservatives were not willing to endorse the Kwasi Kwarteng proposal? It is certainly clear that a number of other Conservative people are opposed to his Growth Plan.