James Heappey MP told LBC Radio ‘I’m quite worried about my overdraft’ despite being on £106,000 paycheck


Wells MP James Heappey said he was ‘worried about my overdraft’ despite earning £106,000 after a pay rise. The Armed Forces Minister made the comment as Britons suffer the biggest pay cut in almost a decade.

The cost of living crisis has set in, experts say, as official figures showed regular wages fell 1.8% in the three months to February, after CPI inflation. The same figure, but month-on-month to February, shows a 2.1% drop, the biggest since August 2013, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The Resolution Foundation said there was a chasm between the public sector, where wages fell 3.8% in real terms, and the private sector where they fell just 0.8%. Even Armed Forces Minister James Heappey said he felt the pinch on LBC radio this morning. despite a pay rise on April 1 taking his salary to £106,619 a year, reports the Mirror, and the full story can be read here.

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When asked if he would release his tax return, as people are asking Chancellor Rishi Sunak to do, he told LBC Radio: “I have to be honest, my finances are pretty straightforward. And like a lot of people, on the 20th of the month, I’m more worried about my overdraft, rather than some kind of incredible tax [inaudible].”

Mr Herappey’s comment came days after another Tory minister, Kit Malthouse, said rising energy prices were hitting him ‘very significantly’, despite being on £115,000 .

Mr Heappey said that although his tax return is very simple, he would resist calls to publish it because “I actually think MPs should be entitled to a certain degree of confidentiality”. Mr Heappey spoke less than an hour after the ONS published updated figures on weekly earnings below inflation.

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Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the government was “helping to cushion the effects of rising global prices with over £22 billion in cost of living support this financial year”.

But business groups said households and businesses were already strained by eye-popping price hikes.

Pat McFadden, Labour’s chief secretary to the Treasury, said: “Rishi Sunak could have chosen a windfall tax on the huge profits of oil and gas companies to cut household energy bills by up to £600. Instead of that, he decided to make Britain the only major economy to land workers with higher taxes amid a cost of living crisis.”

Darren Morgan, director of economic statistics at the ONS, warned: “While high bonuses continue to dampen the effects of rising prices on people’s total earnings, basic pay is now falling significantly in real terms.” .

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The latest labor market data from the ONS also revealed that the unemployment rate fell further below pre-pandemic levels, at 3.8% in the three months to February, which is the lowest reading since December 2019 and down from 3.9% in the previous three months. period.

There were 86,000 fewer jobless Britons to 1.3 million in the February quarter, while those in employment rose by 10,000 to 32.5 million.

But the Resolution Foundation warned: “A buoyant labor market does not generate much pressure on wages, particularly once the base effects of furlough are taken into account.

“And with inflation soaring, wage pressure in Britain will continue to tighten.

“The current decline in real wages is not expected to end before the end of 2023 and will not leave average wages higher than in 2007.”


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