Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi said options to provide extra help to people to ease cost-of-living pressures would be ‘ready to go’ on September 5 – but said it would be up to the new prime minister to make decisions in this regard.
Speaking to Sky News, Mr Zahawi said either of the two Tory leadership candidates – Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak – will be able to “take the lead” once elected.
But he suggested that Boris Johnson, the outgoing prime minister, will not introduce any new policies to tackle the cost of living while he remains in office.
“My message to families today is: We will have these options ready to go,” Zahawi said.
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“Yesterday I met with industry to see what more we can do about direct debit, about prepayment meters, all the things families are worried about.
“We’re making sure we get the job done so that on September 5 the new Prime Minister can kick off and put these things in place.”
Asked if additional direct subsidies to families this winter were unavoidable, Mr Zahawi said: ‘We are looking at all the options for additional help we can provide to families to get them through the winter – 37 billion of pounds sterling, we’re halfway through actual delivery.”
Mr Johnson on Thursday redoubled his insistence that it is up to the next prime minister to make financial decisions after talks with energy bosses end. no new measures to ease the cost of living crisis.
However, speaking after the meeting, the Prime Minister said he would continue to urge the energy sector to ease the financial pressures facing struggling families.
Energy analysts have predicted that typical energy bills could reach around £3,500 in October and over £4,200 in January.
While a new report suggests energy bills are set to cost more than two months of average take-home pay next year unless the government intervenes.
Mr Johnson’s successor will not be announced until September 5.
Last night, the hope of the Conservative leadership Mr Sunak unveiled a plan to cut rising energy bills for up to 16 million vulnerable people which he hopes will propel him to 10 Downing Street.
In a dramatic move as his clash between Tory leaders and Liz Truss grows increasingly bitter, he is reportedly ready to find up to £10billion to cut bills for the poorest households.
And in a swipe at his opponent, the former chancellor said in a Times article: ‘No matter what other people’s ‘booster’ talk, you can’t hopefully heat your house.
According to The Times, Mr Sunak admits his plan to cut VAT on energy bills would cost £5billion, and he would now find up to £5billion more to help those most vulnerable to the price increase.
He also predicted that as energy prices continued to rise, the government would have to raise more money through a windfall tax on energy companies, a move Ms Truss rejected in recent leadership roundups at Cheltenham.
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Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey described as “appalling” the lack of additional support offered to families and pensioners following the meeting with industry bosses on Thursday.
And Labor has accused the government of being “missing”.
“Families are worried about how they will pay their bills. But instead of showing leadership, the Conservatives are missing,” said Ed Miliband, Shadow Secretary of State for Climate Change and Internet. zero.
“The prime minister and the chancellor are gone, while the leadership candidates have no substantive idea of how to help working people meet the challenges they face.”
Visiting Edinburgh today, Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer spoke about some of the elements of party proposals to help people with rising energy billsspecifying that a “strategic plan” would be unveiled on Monday.
“On Monday, I’m going to present a full set of proposals, a plan for how we’ll manage the costs coming into the fall,” he told reporters.
“While what you’ve had from the Conservative Party are two leadership candidates arguing about how appalling their record in government has been, and a prime minister who is a lame duck – he acknowledges there’s a problem and he’s not willing to do anything about it.
“So for the better part of 12 months Labor has been absolutely leading on this issue.”
The party has unveiled a prepayment metering policy which it says would help bring prepaid energy prices in line with those of direct debit customers and relieve around four million households.