Government Insists "Money Is Finite" After Queen’s Speech Announced No New Cost Of Living Support
Downing Street has defended announcing no new measures to support those struggling amid the cost of living crisis in its Queen’s Speech on Tuesday.
Charities and think tanks have heavily criticised the government for failing to do more to help households struggling with the cost of energy bills and the consequences of rising inflation, with some suggesting that ministers had “run out of ideas” and were simply “throwing in the towel”.
The Prime Minister’s spokesperson defended the government’s position, insisting that there was only a “finite” amount the government could offer in support, and that £22 billion had already been allocated to help households with rising cost of living.
“People broadly understand that we've already acted to address some of the immediate challenges facing the public,” they said.
“The Prime Minister and Chancellor are very up front that no government can address all of these global pressures we're seeing.
“The bills we're bringing forward focus on boosting economic growth for our country and create the conditions for more people to have high wage, high skilled jobs.”
They added: “It's important for the public to understand that our capacity to inject money is finite and we have to make some key decisions about how we use that funding.
Boris Johnson has also defended the government’s position, writing in his introduction to the government’s legislative agenda that “no country is immune and no government can realistically shield everyone from the impact”.
He said that “every pound of taxpayer’s money we spend on reducing bills now, it is a pound we are not investing in bringing down bills and prices over the longer term”.
“This moment makes clear our best remedy lies in urgently delivering on our mission to turbo charge the economy, create jobs and spread opportunity across the country.”
But numerous charities and think tanks, as well as opposition parties, have criticised the government’s lack of additional measures.
“The cost-of-living crisis is an emergency the UK government should be dealing with right now,” said Dan Paskins, director of UK Impact at charity Save the Children.
“The Queen's Speech was a major opportunity to support those most affected by rising costs, and the government didn’t take it.”
“Families we work with are skipping meals, rationing their power and taking on unsustainable levels of debt. But again, instead of taking serious action ministers have buried their heads in the sand."
Save the Children said the government needed to “commit to increasing benefits in line with inflation” either before or at the autumn budget, calling it an “essential step”.
Their sentiments were echoed by Greenpeace, whose UK head of politics, Rebecca Newsom, said the Queen’s Speech showed the government was “throwing in the towel on some of the biggest challenges our country faces and pandering instead to the whims of his backbenchers”.
“There's not a single extra penny of support for households struggling with energy bills and no serious plan to fix our heat-wasting homes and get the country off fossil gas,” she said.
“Instead, the prime minister is trying to bring back police state measures to criminalise activists while threatening to scrap vital environmental protections along with so-called red tape.”
Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said the government’s legislative agenda “does nothing to help the millions of families and pensioners facing soaring bills and eye watering inflation”.
“The Conservatives have failed to deliver a cut to VAT that would have saved families an average of £600, failed to help pensioners and failed to help the most vulnerable in our society,” he added.
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