Councillor issues warning on impact of inflation and tax hikes

Upminster and Cranham Residents Group councillor Ron Ower

Upminster and Cranham Residents Group councillor Ron Ower - Credit: Ken Mears/Havering Council

An Upminster ward councillor has warned that the combination of inflation and tax hikes could see locals struggling with their bills in the coming months. 

As part of this newspaper's There With You This Winter campaign, which is providing advice on where people can seek support during the difficult winter months, we spoke to Havering councillor Ron Ower. 

There With You This Winter campaign logo

This newspaper's There With You This Winter campaign, which is supporting residents through the colder months - Credit: Archant

“A lot of people I don’t think are still aware what is going to hit them,” said Cllr Ower, a member of the Upminster and Cranham Residents Group. 

“I regularly look at grocery prices and I have seen prices have increased higher than five per cent and sadly we all saw the tremendous price hikes at the garage forecourts where petrol prices went through the roof.” 

He said he had also seen significant energy bills rises, which could be exacerbated when new higher price caps come into place in April. 

Cllr Ower also noted national insurance is set to increase from 12 per cent to 13.25 per cent on earnings in the same month. 

“Whilst there are many areas in Havering that are quite affluent, there’s many people who are not so, especially senior citizens,” he said. 

“I’m concerned that some people who are senior citizens who have got part-time jobs to get themselves a little bit extra income are going to be hit by national insurance increase,” he added. 

Most Read

Cllr Ower told the Recorder he believes it is a bad time to raise taxes when the public is already under strain from the cost-of-living, and suggested some ideas for tackling the mounting crisis. 

He urged the government to cancel VAT on energy bills and to introduce guidelines for a lower cap on prices. 

He also suggested the government “talk to energy companies to see how it can help”. 

Locally, he said there could be a role for council action, for instance through helping people improve their home insulation. 

“It’s an area that I am going to be looking into, to ascertain if there are people that will need assistance,” he added. 

He suggested many of these issues would be playing on the minds of voters come the local elections in May this year.