There is “no golden ball” for resolving the cost-of-living crisis, a minister has warned, while Boris Johnson is preparing to ask his cabinet ministers to help him find solutions to ease the pressure on household finances.
Armed Forces Minister James Heappey told Sky News that “there is no doubt” that any government intervention would be “expensive”, but added that “cumulatively” a number of measures could “start to make a difference” .
It comes as prime minister prepares to meet with its top colleagues to discuss “innovative” ways of tackling the cost-of-living crisis that are not solely dependent on increased public spending.
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Many people in the UK are facing an increase in the energy bill, the municipal tax and the effects of an increase in the national insurance tax – as well as inflation hit a 30-year high of 7% earlier this month.
“There is no doubt that these interventions are costly – GBP 22 billion in government intervention to help families with their cost of living is already huge, “he said.
“There will be other levers that the government can pull, and you know, none of them will be a golden ball.
“But cumulatively, if you can give people a lot of small savings across their cost of living, then it’s cumulatively starting to make a difference.
“So I would not sniff at the removal of a tariff on a particular type of food, because if it is related to a reduction in the fuel tax at the pumps, which has happened, then it is related to an increase in the personal allowance, an increase in the national living wage, you can cumulatively start seeing and helping people with their energy bills.
“You can start to see how it starts to ease the pressure on the families that are struggling the most.”
An emergency budget is needed, Labor says
Labor has reiterated its call for an “emergency budget” to tackle the rising costs facing households, and warns that “skyrocketing” prices are putting pressure on working families.
It says this emergency budget should include an unexpected tax on oil and gas companies to allow energy bills to be cut.
Number 10 has said the government is renewing efforts to raise awareness of the “strong package” of financial aid already offered, and warned that “private companies must play their part” in helping reduce costs.
Prior to the Cabinet, Mr Johnson said: “With household bills and the cost of living rising in the face of global challenges, easing the burden on the British people and growing our economy must be a team effort across the Cabinet.
“We have a strong package of financial support on offer worth £ 22 billion and it is up to all of us to ensure that the aid reaches the hardest hit and hard working families across the country.
“We will continue to do everything we can to support people without letting public spending and debt spiral, while continuing to help the British find good jobs and earn more, no matter where they live.”
PM is looking for creative ideas
But the Lib Dems have accused the government of being “completely devoid of ideas”.
“What the British people need now is proper leadership – that means an emergency budget, a reduction in VAT and an unexpected tax on the super-profits of oil and gas companies,” said party leader Sir Ed Davey.
Johnson is thought to have asked his cabinet to attend Tuesday morning’s meeting with their proposals to help ease the pressure on household pressure.
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Sir. Heappey told Sky News that he could not say whether any action plan to reduce the cost of living had been adopted, but stressed that the government is taking the matter “seriously”.
“The cost of living is reaching such a point now that even well-paid people are struggling to make ends meet and they are looking to the government to help them with solutions,” he told Sky News.
“Now, what they will decide in the cabinet this morning is up to them and it is certainly not up to me to try to follow suit, but already for this year alone the government has put £ 22 billion in targeted funding for to support those who are struggling the most with the cost of living.
“And the fact that the government is meeting today to discuss more shows you how seriously this is taken by the Prime Minister, the Chancellor and the rest, their colleagues in the Cabinet.”
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Supermarkets lower prices
According to new figures released by the Office for National Statistics this week, Nearly nine out of 10 adults say they have experienced an increase in their cost of living – compared to 62% in November last year.
On Monday, supermarket groups Asda and Morrisons announced efforts to help struggling shoppers during the cost of living crisis.
Asda, the UK’s third-largest supermarket after Tesco and Sainsbury’s, said it would invest more than £ 73 million to keep the prices of more than 100 essential items low until the end of the year.
Items include fresh fruits, vegetables, fresh meats and frozen foods.
Morrisons, the country’s fourth-largest supermarket, said it has reduced the prices of more than 500 products, including cereals, cooking sauces, chicken and sausages, as well as flour, bread and ham.
Asda said affected commodity prices would fall by an average of 12%, while Morrisons said its reductions would fall by an average of 13%.