(Bloomberg) -- Rishi Sunak promised to offer more support to households facing a crippling cost-of-living crisis as pressure builds on Boris Johnson’s government to reassure people amid soaring energy bills.
Sunak will build on the support package he announced earlier this year, which gives each household a £400 ($483) discount off bills from October, once it’s clear how much prices will go up, according to a statement late Monday. He’ll fund the extra help by making efficiency savings across other government departments in order to keep borrowing to a minimum.
“This winter is going to be extremely tough for families up and down the country, and there is no doubt in my mind that more support will be needed,” he said.
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Pressure has mounted on both Sunak and his leadership rival Liz Truss to pledge more handouts to help struggling families, after the Bank of England last week predicted that inflation will jump above 13% later this year and the UK could face a recession lasting more than a year. Truss has suggested she would prefer any future help to come in the form of tax cuts rather than handouts.
Criticism of Johnson’s reluctance to make any major spending or policy decisions while a new prime minister is elected is also building after the BOE’s bleak outlook. The UK will defer a decision on further support until Johnson’s successor is in place in September, spokesman Max Blain said Monday.
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The Confederation of British Industry, Britain’s biggest business lobby group, on Monday urged Johnson to bring Sunak and Truss together in the next fortnight to agree a support package. People need to be reassured they will be supported once the price cap on energy bills is announced later this month, rather than waiting until after the new prime minister is elected in early September, the business group said.
Ex-Prime Minister Gordon Brown also made a rare intervention over the weekend, urging that the UK government’s emergency committee, known as Cobra, meet to address the looming crisis.
“We simply cannot afford a summer of Government inactivity while the leadership contest plays out followed by a slow start from a new Prime Minister and Cabinet,” said Tony Danker, CBI Director-General.
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