Michael Gove Denies An Emergency Budget To Tackle Soaring Costs Is Imminent
Michael Gove has dismissed suggestions that government will introduce an “emergency budget” within the coming days to help ease the cost-of-living crisis.
Following Tuesday’s Queen’s Speech, Boris Johnson told the Commons that government “will continue to use all our ingenuity and compassion for as long as it takes, and the chancellor and I will be saying more about this in the days to come”.
The statement was widely interpreted as the Prime Minister hinting at an imminent cost-of-living emergency budget announcement. But Gove quashed the suggestion on Wednesday morning.
Speaking on Sky News the secretary of state for levelling up, housing and communities agreed that while government will “be saying and doing more” to tackle rising inflation, such action won’t “amount to an emergency budget”.
"It is sometimes the case that the words from a Prime Minister or minister are overinterpreted,” Gove insisted.
“We will be saying more and doing more in order to help people with the cost of living challenge we face at the moment, but that doesn't amount to an emergency budget. It is part of the work of government.”
Johnson has recently tasked all government departments with coming up with new ways to tackle the cost of living crisis, but said that no extra funds will be allocated for the plans. The levelling up secretary said that government will do “everything we can” to ease the burden of soaring prices.
Gove's pledge today follows the publication of a new report by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research that predicted 1.5 million households will experience difficulties paying food and energy bills over the next year.
The think tank has suggested that government should raise Universal Credit by £25 per week between May and October, as well as give £250 each to 11.3 million lower income households, to help prevent masses of families sliding into poverty.
So far government cost-of-living assistance measures have included reducing the Universal Credit taper rate, a one-off council tax rebate of £150 for people living in council tax bands A-D during the month of April, and a doubling of the household support fund to £1 billion, to help the country’s lowest earners meet the cost of essentials.
“We keep under review a range of things that we can do both short term and long term to help people,” Gove said.
The levelling up secretary added that on Tuesday night Johnson convened a cabinet meeting where ministers discussed ensuring they were doing “everything that we could to review every policy lever at our disposal”.
“We are always in every way looking to see what we can do to help citizens,” he said.
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