Johnson admits UK’s cost of living support is not enough
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson admitted on Friday that the government’s existing £37 billion cost-of-living package may not be enough to support struggling households, as the frontrunner to replace him, Liz Truss, rejected calls for windfall to allow the reduce the pain of rising energy bills .
Johnson, who will leave office next month, said in North Wales he would not “pretend” the economic situation was easy for the public, adding that ministers were focused on ensuring the Treasury had “fiscal firepower”. to help households in the fall.
Asked if the current support measures were enough, he said: “No, because what I’m saying, what we’re doing in addition is trying to make sure there’s more support in October, in January and what the government will do, who will Prime Minister, ensures that there is extra money to help people.”
Earlier this year, the UK announced a £37 billion package of measures, including one-off payments of £650 to people on means-tested benefits; £400 to reduce the cost of utility bills; and £300 to the estimated 8 million retired households receiving the winter fuel payment.
“I think it’s very important for people to understand that most people have not yet received the aid that the government has already allocated,” Johnson added. “So over the next few months you will see about 8 million households getting another £326. You will see everyone getting help with the energy support plan in October.”
Despite warnings from Martin Lewis, founder of the MoneySavingExpert website, and former Prime Minister Gordon Brown that urgent aid is needed, Downing Street has ruled out any major fiscal action before September 5, when a new prime minister is announced.
Energy consultancy Cornwall Insight has estimated that the energy price cap on customer bills could rise from the current rate of £1,971 a year to £4,427 by April next year.
Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi said on Friday the government is “looking at all options” to help people through the winter. “We’re making sure we do the work so the new prime minister can start on September 5 and get those things in place,” he told Sky News.
Johnson’s comments came after Truss reiterated her opposition to levying windfall taxes on oil companies on Thursday, arguing it amounted to “bashing business” and “sending the wrong message to international investors.”
The Foreign Secretary’s economic pledges include tax cuts worth around £30bn, a reversal of national insurance increases and a temporary moratorium on green energy levies.
“One thing I definitely don’t support is a windfall,” she told Conservative party members during hustings in Cheltenham in the west of England. “I don’t think profit is a dirty word, and the fact that it has become a dirty word in our society is a huge problem,” Truss added.
In May, the UK introduced a tax on energy profits for oil and gas companies, but the record profits reported by the sector have sparked renewed calls for further inventions.
Shell, Europe’s largest oil company, reported adjusted profits of $11.5 billion in the second quarter of this year, while the operating profit of Centrica, the largest energy retailer in the UK, rose to £1.3 billion between January and June. .
Meanwhile, former chancellor Rishi Sunak has attacked his rivals’ plans, arguing that tax cuts would do little to help the most vulnerable in society.
“There are two groups of other people who need more help: people with very low incomes and retirees. Now Liz Truss’ tax plans do virtually nothing for those people,” he said in an interview with Times Radio on Friday.