More support for cost of living could be on the way, Sunak suggests

·2-min read
Rishi Sunak (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Wire)
Rishi Sunak (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Wire)

The Chancellor has hinted that more Government support to deal with the cost-of-living crisis could be on the way.

It comes as Downing Street has said it is keeping “all options open” when it comes to addressing the squeeze on people’s finances.

Speaking to BBC Look East in Ipswich, Suffolk, Rishi Sunak said he had always been “very clear” that the Government stood “ready to do more” as the situation required.

“But what I have always said is, once we have better clarity on what energy prices will be in the autumn, then we will be in a position to know what the right response is,” he said.

I know this is something that millions of families are grappling with every day

Chancellor Rishi Sunak

On whether he could level with people and say “the Government can’t do everything to help you”, Mr Sunak said: “Of course, the forces we are grappling with are global in nature and we are not the only country to be facing higher energy prices or higher inflation in general.

“You know, we can do things to support people and we are going to do what we can to ease the burden. I wish I could make it completely go away, but I can’t.”

Asked whether he was losing sleep over the cost-of-living crisis, the Chancellor said: “No, I know this is something that millions of families are grappling with every day. I know it’s the number one thing on their mind. Of course, I get that.

“And what I’m trying to do is make sure that we put policies in place that support families to help navigate the next few months, which we know will be challenging.”

I wish I could make it completely go away, but I can’t

Chancellor Rishi Sunak

Meanwhile, Downing Street said it was open to all options for dealing with mounting living costs.

Asked what Boris Johnson would say to Tory MPs demanding the income tax cut be brought forward, given the scale of the crisis this year, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman pointed to “significant support already available”.

He said: “We know that this is (at) the forefront of the public’s mind; it’s certainly (at) the forefront of the Prime Minister’s mind and we will keep all options open.”

On whether people would have to wait until the autumn budget before anything further was done, he said the Government would act “when it is the right time to do so – I don’t restrict that to a certain period in the year”.

He said it was still against a windfall tax on the profits of oil and gas companies, arguing this would “deter investment at a time we need it most – not least in renewable energy”.