The Office for Budget Responsibility assesses the prospects for inflation, which of course factors in any changes in prices from Budget 2011. It will update its forecast this autumn.
I thank the Minister for her answer, but with rising energy prices, stagnating real-terms income and rising unemployment, I ask her again what specific actions will be taken to help the more than 4 million households in England and one in seven households in my constituency that will face fuel poverty this year?
We have already taken action in previous Budgets, not least by taking people out of paying income tax altogether by raising the personal allowance. As we have heard, we reduced fuel duty, in contrast to the previous Government’s plans to increase it. More than that, we are making sure that we target help at vulnerable people through the Warm Homes discount and next year, of course, we will introduce the green deal to help everybody to make their homes more energy-efficient.
Does the Minister agree that although policies to help people out of income tax at the bottom level will show positive results, it is important to maintain the pressure to provide new apprenticeships so that high-value exporting manufacturers, such as Severn Glocon in my constituency, can continue to generate significant foreign exchange benefits.