Labour forcing vote on emergency budget today as inflation hits highest level for 40 years

Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves has urged Tories to back the vote, adding we "can't wait any longer for action"

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Labour is forcing a vote on an emergency budget, Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves has said.

Ms Reeves has urged Conservative MPs to back the budget vote as the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite.

Her comments come after the Office for National Statistics said the rate of Consumer Prices Index inflation increased to nine percent in April from seven percent in March.

It was the fastest measured rate since records began in 1989, and the ONS estimates it was the highest since 1982.

Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves
Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves

And Ms Reeves said the nine percent rate in April would be “a huge worry for families already stretched”.

She added: “We can’t wait any longer for action from this out of touch government.

“Today, Labour force a vote for an emergency budget and for a plan for growth.

“The Tories must back it.”

But Chancellor Rishi Sunak stressed that the issue was global, insisting the Government "cannot protect people completely".

He said: “Countries around the world are dealing with rising inflation.

“Today’s inflation numbers are driven by the energy price cap rise in April, which in turn is driven by higher global energy prices.

The British Chambers of Commerce has called on Rishi Sunak to reverse the rise in NI contributions
The British Chambers of Commerce has called on Rishi Sunak to reverse the rise in NI contributions

“We cannot protect people completely from these global challenges but are providing significant support where we can, and stand ready to take further action.

“We’re saving the average worker £330 a year through reducing National Insurance Contributions, changing Universal Credit to save over a million families around £1,000 a year, and providing millions of families with £350 each this year to help with their energy bills.”

While the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said the “unprecedented” impact of rising inflation meant a “real chance” of a recession later this year.

BCC head of economics Suren Thiru called for Mr Sunak to reverse the rise in National Insurance Contributions and cut VAT on business energy bills to 5 percent.

He said: “The jump in UK inflation in April is eye-watering and underscores the growing cost-of-living crisis facing households and the damaging squeeze on firms’ ability to invest and operate at full capacity.

“The marked acceleration in the headline rate in April reflected the continued upward pressure on prices from surging energy and commodity costs, as well as the energy price cap rise and the reversal of the VAT reduction for hospitality in the month.

“The scale at which inflation is damaging key drivers of UK output, including consumer spending and business investment, is unprecedented and means there is a real chance the UK will be in recession by the third quarter of the year.”