Rishi Sunak: ‘Ready to help’ on cost of living crisis

83 percent of people want Boris to appoint a dedicated cost of living minister (Image: Getty)

His promise that he “is ready to take further action” comes when expectations increase that measures are on the way to support families as they struggle with soaring inflation and an unprecedented increase in energy bills.

Exclusive survey by Techne shows that 83 percent of people want Boris Johnson to appoint a dedicated cost of living minister – with only 10 percent against. Ninety percent of those over 64 want to see such a minister in place.

In the latest step to combat rising costs, the government has announced that prescription fees will be frozen for the first time in 12 months.

The pressure is building up in the conservative party for bold measures to come to terms with the crisis.

Sunak told the Sunday Express: “The global challenges we face are constantly changing, and I have always said that I am ready to take further action when we receive more information about pressures that we are likely to face later this year. Rest assured, I live up to the problems that people face and I want to do everything in my power to help where I can. ”

Caroline Abrahams from Age UK said the prospect of further price increases is now “scary” for the elderly “because there are simply no further cuts they can make”. She warned of the danger of “deep difficulties like nothing we have seen in this country in many years”.

She said: “That is why we call on the government to immediately increase benefits and state pensions in line with inflation to help anyone with low incomes – regardless of age – who will otherwise have deep problems as prices continue to rise.”

The Chancellor is considered to have organized a series of “round tables” with conservative backbenchers. He has previously held similar meetings before major financial statements. An MP said Downing Street is particularly “receptive” to views from Tory MPs at the moment.

Former Labor and Retirement Secretary Stephen Crabb welcomed the overwhelming support of a Minister of Cost of Living.

He said: “I am encouraged but not surprised by these findings. Across the country, people are aware of how difficult things are for many families.”

“They know there is no magic wand here but they want to see real leadership and determination from the government. A minister who only focuses on delivering a cost of living plan would help give that focus.”

Robert Halfon, who chairs the education committee, said he “passionately supports” the appointment of a minister for the cost of living. He said he wanted the minister to “have a giant pair of scissors” so he or she could go over government departments and “cut down on the cost of living”.

Mr Halfon also wants a new body to be launched that would evaluate the impact of each domestic policy on the cost of living and develop new ways of helping the public.

Mike Wood, Conservative MP for Dudley South, said: “Appointing a minister to lead this important challenge would send a strong message of helping to find sustainable and effective solutions is this government’s top priority.”

Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen said a dedicated cost-of-living minister could play a useful role in tackling the challenges facing the country, but said “it must be a big hit” that has the Ministry of Finance’s ear.

Northwestern Leicestershire MP wants to address the crisis before parliament breaks up in July.

“Measures must be taken before the summer break,” he said.

He wants less money to be paid in fuel tax, a potential reduction in VAT and the abolition of green taxes on gas and electricity bills.

The pressure comes when charities strike the warning bell about the difficult situation facing households.

Lynn Perry, executive director of the children’s charity Barnardo’s, warned: “The cost of living crisis is getting worse every day. Families who previously had to choose between warming up or eating can increasingly not afford it either, and almost two-thirds of our frontline staff have reported that they have fed children and young people for the past year for fear that they will otherwise go hungry. ”

Dennis Reed, head of Silver Voices, which fights for the needs of the elderly, warned: “More elderly people are being pushed into poverty because of the cost-of-living crisis that advocates say is leveling down rather than increasing the country.”

He said they were also concerned that the government would be forced to cut back on public services on which they depend.

Karl Williams of the influential think tank Center for Policy Studies called on all government agencies to “produce a list of charges they currently impose on citizens and ask if they are really necessary” and support measures to reduce childcare costs.

He added that “planning reforms and increasing domestic energy production” would go a long way in building British resilience to future global events, protecting households up and down the country and increasing prosperity for all. “

This spring's statement

Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered his spring statement to parliament in March (Image: Getty)

The government has caused controversy by setting the goal of cutting up to 91,000 public services in an attempt to save money.

The Public Service and Trade Union (PCS) has warned of strikes and will meet with government officials this week to say that delays in issuing passports and driving licenses will be worse if the number of employees is reduced.

Professor Len Shackleton of the Institute of Economic Affairs warned: “Killing civil servants is necessary but it should only be the beginning of the government’s attempt to reduce public spending and allow us to cut taxes. Savings of £ 3.5 billion are a drop in the ocean – the government spent more than £ 1 trillion last year. “

Former Secretary of State Damian Green stressed the need for public service reform, saying: “I am in favor of a narrower public administration, but it must also become more efficient.

Reducing numbers where we may need to mix with sorting out failures like the passport office and DVLA.

Mark Francois, a Conservative member of the powerful Public Accounts Committee, pushed for tax cuts.

He said: “We already have a ‘cost of living minister’ – he is called the finance minister. Fortunately, he is also capable of lowering taxes, for example on domestic energy bills, which many Tory backbenchers would now like to see and the sooner the better.”

A Tory backbencher expects that an “emergency budget in everything but names” is on the way and warned that the government risked looking contradictory, saying: “If we are considering lowering taxes now, why did we put them up [in the spring statement] when many in the party did not want to? ”

Labor claims that by 2024, a “typical worker with an average wage will still see the combined interest rate on national insurance and income tax they pay rise to 32.25 percent.”

A debate on Tuesday on tackling rising cost of living will be closely monitored for signals that help is on the way.

Former Minister Sir John Hayes suggested that VAT could be reduced on various items of household expenditure, arguing that the reintroduction of the 10p tax rate would be a “very effective way of helping people in low-paid jobs”. He also thinks that “this world’s Google and the Amazon should contribute more”.

Mike Brewer of the Resolution Foundation warned that “bold” support is needed with “average incomes about to fall by around £ 1,200 this year”.

He called for support for “low- and middle-income families who are at the sharp end of rising cost pressures,” he said: due next spring to this autumn, or even earlier if possible. “

“This would provide significant cash support to millions of severely affected households and would hold back rising poverty levels without bearing any long-term costs to the Treasury.”

Rachel Reeves, Labor’s shadow chancellor, said: “The Conservatives must get their heads out of the sand, stop absorbing and now act against the cost of living crisis.

[Anything] less than coming up with an emergency budget as soon as possible – including a one-off tax on profits from oil and gas producers – to help ease the pressure from the cost-of-living crisis is a failure of this Conservative government. “

A government spokeswoman said: “We understand that people are struggling with rising prices, and although we can not protect everyone from the global challenges we face, we are supporting British families to navigate in the coming months with a £ 22 billion support package. financial year. “

“The Prime Minister has asked ministers across the government to focus on doing everything to help as a matter of priority, including increasing the use of available support.”

Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak promises to help through the cost of living crisis (Image: Getty)

Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement to Sunday Express Readers

Meeting people across the country to listen to their concerns and understand the challenges they face is an important part of my job.

Just this week, I’ve been out and about in Ipswich, Stoke-on-Trent, south London and Darlington, talking to workers and small business owners from all walks of life.

I hear the same thing from many people – times are tough and household budgets are being stretched by rising prices.

I want to be honest with Sunday Express readers. These are challenges that governments around the world are grappling with and I cannot make everything go away.

But we do a lot to help people keep more of their hard earned money. Millions of families will receive £ 350 each this year to help with their energy bills, the average worker will save £ 330 as we increase national insurance thresholds in just a few weeks, and we’ve made changes to Universal Credit that will save over a million families around £ 1,000 a year.

And for those hardest hit, we have doubled the size of the household support fund to £ 1bn – people can apply to their council for funding to help them pay for what they need.

The global challenges we face are constantly changing, and I have always said that I am ready to take further action when we receive more information about pressures that we are likely to face later this year.

Be calm, I am aware of the problems that people face and I want to do everything in my power to help where I can.

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