Sunderland Labour will next week table a motion calling on the new Prime Minister to provide further support to tackle the cost of living crisis.

The motion follows a report by The Resolution Foundation revealing that the average British household is expected to see their spending power drop by approximately £3,000 by the end of 2023.

This has led to calls from Sunderland’s ruling Labour Group for the government to make tackling the cost-of-living crisis an ‘absolute priority’, with the North East predicted to be among the regions worst hit by the crisis.

The North East of England has some of the highest levels of child poverty and some of the lowest wages in the country and the current crisis is only making those problems worse.

The Resolution Foundation report – released just last month – also revealed that Britain faces a bleak winter for living standards, with the number of people living in absolute poverty set to rise by three million, highlighting the scale of the task facing Liz Truss after she officially took office on Monday [5 Sep].

Cllr Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland Labour Group, said: “If Liz Truss wants to prove that she can be ‘Trusted to Deliver’, then she must prove she is serious about tackling the cost-of-living crisis and act upon it immediately.

“The government’s continued failure to tackle rising inflation and falling living standards has seen millions of families across the UK plunged into poverty and, as always, areas such as the North East have been left to foot the bill.

“We’ve reached a point where working families, including those who the Government urged us all to clap during the pandemic, are now being forced to decide between eating and heating, while corporate shareholders enjoy their spoils of spiralling profits.

“The warning signs have been there, and they’ve been flashing ferociously, yet the fight to become PM has been their sole focus while the rest of us have been left to fend for ourselves. They must get a grip on this crisis before it’s too late.”

The motion tabled by Sunderland Labour Group declares that residents of Sunderland are in a ‘cost-of-living emergency’ and calls for Liz Truss to be ‘radical’ in her response to the crisis.

This includes freezing the energy cap at its present level and reimbursing residents for the increases made while the cap is set above the October 2021 rate and setting an example by providing the public sector with the funds for pay awards that match the rate of inflation to help improve living standards for key workers.

It also calls for a long-term plan to prioritise national interest and security by removing foreign ownership from utility companies and bring them under public ownership and control.

“After what has been in effect the longest and harshest pay squeeze in modern history since 2010, caused by the deliberate actions of this government in the name of austerity, we must take urgent action to prevent our residents from falling into absolute poverty,” added Cllr Claire Rowntree, deputy leader of Sunderland Labour Group.

“It’s appalling that in 2022 we find ourselves in a position where working families are struggling to get by, and while there’s no hiding from the fact that external influences such as the pandemic and the war in Ukraine have played a part in this, the buck absolutely stops at the feet of the Conservative government.

“The austerity measures forced upon working people to protect the wealth of shareholders and the government’s incapability to regulate markets has left millions of people living in poverty and millions of children going to school hungry.

“If our new Prime Minister is serious about stepping up for areas such as the North East, then she must act swiftly to end this crisis and I hope our fellow city councillors, no matter what their political beliefs, can put their differences aside and join us in backing this motion.”