Senior Tory Challenges New Prime Minister To Provide “Big Package” Of Cost Of Living Support
Conservative MP Mark Harper has said all households would need further support with spiralling energy bills, and believed that targeted measures would be needed to help the most vulnerable.
Speaking just hours before the next Prime Minister is announced, Harper called for a major intervention to help households on the lowest incomes as warnings grow over the cost of living.
The surge in energy costs and inflation has prompted fears that thousands could struggle to afford their bills this winter, with experts predicting the price of energy for an average household could surpass £5,000 in January.
“Whoever wins is going to have to provide a big package of support to help people get through the winter," the former Tory chief whip, who has supported Rishi Sunak’s leadership campaign, told Sky News.
“It requires help to everybody but more help targeted at those who are at the lower end of the income distribution so we can get through that. I’ve spent the summer arguing that and so has Rishi Sunak.”
Tackling rising energy bills will be the top issue facing the next Prime Minister, who is set to be announced at around 12.30pm on Monday, with Foreign Secretary Liz Truss widely expected to beat out Sunak for the job.
Truss has faced criticism during the leadership campaign for her insistence that she would use tax cuts to help shore up household budgets, and that she did not want to offer government “handouts”.
But her position has shifted in recent weeks. Ahead of her expected victory, she said she would take “rapid action” to tackle the crisis, and has pledged to announce new measures within a week.
“I will work tirelessly to deliver for the people of Britain,” she wrote in The Sun.
“I’ll take rapid action on energy bills to help families through the winter, but also tackle the root cause of the energy crisis.”
Truss has already pledged to scrap green levies on energy bills in a bid to reduce the cost, but is facing pressure to go further in response to spiralling price surges.
Labour has already called on the next PM to back their plan of capping energy costs for consumers by using a £28bn package to compensate energy firms.
But Truss has refused to expand on her approach, saying only she would offer a “bold plan” to tackling the crisis.
“I have a bold plan to see Britain through difficult times and get us out the other side stronger. I won’t let anyone talk this great country down,” she added.
“I will do everything in my power to make sure everyone, no matter where they are from, has the opportunity to go as far as their talent and hard work takes them.”
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