Boris Johnson has been accused by business leaders of allowing a drifting summer to set in, after ruling out further cost of living measures until a new prime minister is in place.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesperson says there is no Cobra meeting scheduled to deal with the cost of living crisis, and that it will be up to Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak to come up with a plan to deal with the economic situation when the new Prime Minister is in office in a month.
Downing Street said the biggest challenges to family budgets would come towards the end of the year and it would be up to Truss or Sunak to decide whether to take action to help.
However, the CBI, Britain’s largest business group, called on the Prime Minister to take immediate action, bringing together leadership candidates to agree a way forward to support struggling households.
Tony Danker, the CBI’s chief executive, urged Johnson to ask the cabinet secretary to prepare a set of choices that can be offered to leadership candidates now on how to support the most vulnerable people and businesses during the crisis. fall and winter, and to continue to make decisions and delivery to help boost business confidence over the next four weeks.
The economic situation that people and businesses are facing requires everyone to be at the pumps this summer. We simply cannot afford a summer of government inactivity as the leadership race unfolds, followed by a slow start for a new prime minister and a new cabinet, Danker said.
Energy bills are expected to rise in the fall and will potentially have tripled since 2019 to reach 3,600 by January. In addition, families are also facing inflation expected to hit 13% in October and rising mortgage bills due to interest rates rising to 1.75%.
Johnson declined former Labor Prime Minister Gordon Browns’ suggestion of a cost-of-living summit between No 10, Truss and Sunak when he returned from vacation in Slovenia. Number 10 declined to say who paid for the Premiers’ break.
The spokesman said Johnson was due to speak to Nadhim Zahawi, the Chancellor, later this week to ensure support coming later this year was on track, but insisted he would be inappropriate for him to face major financial challenges.
Clearly, these global pressures mean tough times for the public. The government has recognized that the end of the year will present wider challenges with things like changes to the [energy] price cap, the spokesperson said.
This is why, at the beginning of the summer, we implemented several measures to help the population. Clearly some of the global pressures have increased since this was announced.
By convention, it is not up to this Prime Minister to make major budgetary interventions during this period. It will be for a future prime minister.
The government’s energy bill support program offers a reduction of 400 on bills spread over six months from October for each household, a one-time payment of 650 means-tested to 8 million low-income households, 150 for those on disability benefits and 300 for pensioners. This was designed when the forecast for the October price cap was 2,800.
However, it is now expected to hit 3,600 by January, leaving many families wondering how they will cope.
Rachel Reeves, the phantom chancellor, said: People are worried mad about how they will pay their bills and get their weekly groceries, and all this Tory Prime Minister does is shrug his shoulders. An economic crisis like this requires strong leadership and urgent action, but instead we have a Conservative Party that has lost control and is stuck with two continuity candidates who can only deliver the same thing.
Labor would start by scrapping tax breaks for oil and gas producers and provide more help for people struggling to pay their energy bills. Only a Labor government can tackle this crisis and deliver the stronger, safer economy Britain needs.
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