Richmond Park News: 30 September 2022
FINANCIAL EVENTS THIS WEEK
My constituents will doubtless be as concerned as I am about the instability in the financial markets this week, and the concerning lack of communication from Downing Street regarding their ‘mini-budget’. This proposal has already caused significant damage to the British economy, and will continue to do so should various measures within it not be reversed.
The Government’s net increase in borrowing totals more than £45 billion. In a directive issued on Wednesday evening to all Ministerial Departments, it has now been revealed that this will be partially mitigated through widespread cuts to public services, something I unequivocally oppose.
As Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson, I was appalled that the International Monetary Fund issued a statement asking the Government to reconsider their plans, even before the Bank of England was forced to make a £65 billion intervention in the markets to save pension funds. These are both highly unusual and alarming steps, and I have called for the immediate recall of Parliament so the Chancellor can come to the House to be questioned on his programme.
I am especially concerned about the effect of rising interest rates on those with mortgage payments, both in Richmond Park and across the country at an already difficult time. I know this will be of serious concern to those currently on flexible rate mortgages, or those whose fixed rate will be coming to an end in the near future. As such, I spoke extensively on this subject on BBC Newsnight on Wednesday evening, and have launched calls for the Conservative Party Conference to be cancelled this weekend - to be replaced by an emergency summit with mortgage lenders in Downing Street to stabilise the situation.
Although I welcomed the Prime Minister and Chancellor finally meeting with the Office for Budget Responsibility this morning, their refusal to let any form of forecast be published for almost two months is unacceptable. I would like to reassure all residents of Richmond Park that I will continue to hold the Government to account over their proposals and lack of transparency, whilst reiterating that should you have any specific concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Since becoming the MP for Richmond Park I have received a large volume of correspondence from constituents detailing the multitude of issues they face as leaseholders. I therefore strongly support the campaign to introduce wide-ranging reforms to the leasehold market in line with the recommendations of the Law Commission report of July 2020. The Government has promised to implement reforms since 2017, yet there is currently no timeframe set for the legislation. Earlier this month, Simon Clarke was appointed as the new Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. I was encouraged to read his op-ed in the Telegraph last week, in which Mr Clarke stated that he was committed to “delivering for leaseholders”. You can read this op-ed here. I was also pleased to read that he will be working with the Financial Conduct Authority to tackle the appalling practices within the insurance industry, which is an issue I have previously written to the Competition and Markets Authority about. However, there was no mention of when the necessary legislation for wider leasehold reforms will be introduced to Parliament. I have therefore written to Mr Clarke, alongside Liberal Democrat Leader Sir Ed Davey and Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper, to ask that he affirm his commitment to leaseholders and guarantee that the legislation will be introduced this Parliament. You can read a copy of this letter here. I am also a member of the APPG for Commonhold and Leasehold Reform and I will continue to monitor developments on leasehold reform in Parliament and lend my support to the campaign whenever possible. If you would like to be added to my mailing list to receive updates on the campaign for leasehold reform, please send an email to email@example.com with ‘leasehold reform’ as the subject title.
CAMPAIGN SUCCESS – BEER DUTY REFORM
Many constituents have emailed me regarding the Government’s proposed reforms to beer duty. I am pleased to report that the campaign to lower the threshold of the new draught duty to 20 litres has been successful. In the Government's initial proposals t