On Tuesday I spoke in the Queen’s Speech debate in the House of Commons about the cost of living
and rising costs. These will be incredibly important issues in the coming months and years and they
are as important here in South Somerset as anywhere else in the country. I thought it essential to
suggest changes that bring actual prices experienced by people down, not by controls, taxes or
subsidies that often just perpetuate the higher costs, but by reducing the tax components that get
embedded in the prices we all pay.
As I said in my speech, as a former global investment manager who has spent a lot of time studying
economic conditions and policies, I am concerned about the trajectory of the global economy and I
think the UK needs to take radical action to reform its tax system to cope with changes under way.
Deglobalisation due to the Ukraine crisis sanctions and shortcomings in supply chains exposed by the
pandemic is likely to be a permanent shift tending to create a bit more inflation. This adds to that
caused by chronic underinvestment in energy sources globally over the last 15 years, and the shift to
low carbon sources of energy which are often more expensive.
I have suggested looking urgently at reducing fuel duty more dramatically and cutting the VAT rate
throughout the economy as well as a wider package of tax reform designed to help keep price levels
down, spur growth and improve productivity, and am meeting with Ministers at all levels to discuss
how to implement it. Helping businesses continue to get back on their feet and households to cope
with rising costs without the help in itself being inflationary has to be our absolute priority.
Encouraging dramatically higher domestic levels of energy and food production are going to be
particularly important. This is a really exciting prospect here in Somerset when we think about all the
amazing local produce we have to offer. We need to eat more of it, produce and brand more of it,
invest more in it, and export more of it to newly opened markets in America and Asia Pacific as well
as markets closer to home. We need to be on a war footing in all these respects, to help people with
prices and keep our economy moving. And remember that the Government is giving targeted help
and council tax discount funding, disbursed through local councils, for people with particular needs.
We heard this week that four of our local schools will get a boost from the Condition Improvement
Fund, which is great news of another Government scheme to give direct targeted funding, for
schools that need some help to repair or upgrade facilities. I hope the works go well and can be
enjoyed by all soon. Whilst these things are rightly subject to a robust process, if any schools are
thinking of putting in a bid then I will certainly support them.
Finally it is great to hear that Yeovil town centre is to receive Government funding as part of nearly
£820k for schemes in Somerset to promote cycling and walking. I would still like to see free parking
too throughout our area to help people return to our local businesses and I will keep pushing for
As always, if I can be of any help with a local issue or if you would like to share your views please do
email email@example.com or call 01935314321.