Boris Johnson Admits Current Cost Of Living Measures Won’t “Be Enough” To Help Everyone
Boris Johnson has suggested that current government measures introduced to tackle the rising cost of living may not go far enough to “immediately” help every family.
In an interview with ITV’s Good Morning Britain, the Prime Minister said the government was doing “everything we can to help with the pressures on family budgets” and that he “totally" understood what people were “going through”.
But he warned that “we need to be prudent in our approach”, claiming that there was a “severe” risk that inflation could “spiral” if prices were pushed too high.
The PM also dismissed calls for a windfall tax on big energy companies to fund further measures, insisting that would discourage companies from investing in new energy infrastructure.
“What we're doing right now is helping people with the cost of energy with £9.1 billion that we have put in, with a £350 [council tax] support that we're giving,” the PM said.
He added: “I accept those contributions from the taxpayer… [aren’t] going to be enough immediately to help cover everybody's costs.”
Asked why the government was not going further by increasing benefits and other supports, he said: “We have a short term hit caused by the spike in energy prices across the world.
“If we respond by driving up prices and costs across the board in this country, responding by the government stepping in and driving up inflation, that will hit everybody.
“That will mean that people's interest rates on their mortgages go up. The cost of borrowing goes up and we face an even worse problem," he added.
He continued: “We're already spending £83 billion a year to service the cost of government debt. That's huge. That's far more than we spend on defence, on many other budgets across Whitehall.
“It's a huge sum of money. And the risk is if we have an inflationary spiral of the kind that could be triggered.”
ITV presenter Susanna Reid gave the PM an example of a 77-year-old pensioner, Elsie, who had been forced to eat one meal a day after her energy bills increased from “£17 a month to £85 a month”.
Asked what the government was doing to support her, Johnson replied: “What we want to do is make sure that we have people who are in particular hardship looked after by their councils.”
Johnson was also asked about his recent fine for attending a gathering in Downing Street while coronavirus restrictions were in place.
He said his December 2021 statement to the Commons, in which he claimed no rules had been broken at Downing Street, was "wrong", but insisted that he had "inadvertently" misled the House.
Pushed on whether he had lied in the past, the PM added: "I do my best to represent faithfully and accurately what I believe. Sometimes it's controversial, and sometimes it offends people, but that's what I do."
PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe