PMQs: Boris Johnson ‘failing to get a grip on the cost of living’, says Angela Rayner

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Labour Party deputy leader Angela Rayner speaking during Prime Minister's Questions (AFP via Getty Images)
Labour Party deputy leader Angela Rayner speaking during Prime Minister's Questions (AFP via Getty Images)

Labour’s deputy Angela Rayner accused Boris Johnson of failing to get a grip on the cost of living in tenses exchanges at Prime Minister’s Questions.

Ms Rayner, who is standing in for leader Sir Keir Starmer after he tested positive for Covid on Wednesday, warned thousands of families face a “disaster” due to tax rises and rising energy costs.

She added “millions” of British workers now face a further pay cut and tax hikes.

Ms Rayner told the Commons: “Inflation is about to hit six per cent, that’s the highest rate since the early 90s when the Conservatives had been in power for over a decade.

“Marred in their sleaze, with a divided party. A Prime Minister losing the support of his backbenchers and governing shambolically and a Labour Party who is ready to take over and provide Britain with a better future.

“The Prime Minister promised wage rises would offset inflation, they haven’t and they won’t.

“Millions of British workers now face a further pay cut and his Chancellor is handing them a tax hike, what will the Prime Minister do to get a grip?”

Mr Johnson replied: “We know the future job that she has in mind and wish her well, but what we are focused on is delivering jobs for the British people….

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner (House of Commons/PA) (PA Wire)
Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner (House of Commons/PA) (PA Wire)

“There are now record numbers of people in work, 420,000 more than there were before the pandemic began. We have youth unemployment at a record low and never let it be forgotten that when Omicron hit this country what was their instinctive response, they said…that we needed a road map to lockdown, if we’d listened to them we wouldn’t have anybody working at all.”

Ms Rayner accused Mr Johnson of being someone who “always gives with one hand and takes away with the other”, adding: “Under this Prime Minister the country is worse off.

“Prices for everyday goods are soaring out of control, hard-earned savings will be hit and the wages of working people won’t go as far.”

The Labour deputy leader urged the PM to be more “aspirational for this country”, as working families are “picking up the tab for his incompetence”.

She said: “The Prime Minister pretends it is not his fault, he blames the global forces, he blames the market.

“We are an aspirational party, maybe the Prime Minister needs to be more aspirational for this country.

“But, the Prime Minister has made political choices that has led us into this place. His Government has failed to invest in long-term energy security, his Government decided to let gas storages collapse. His Government let the energy market run out of control. 27 energy companies have gone bust in the last year. And now, household bills are going through the roofs.”

She added: “Can the Prime Minister see what is happening yet again? Working families are picking up the tab for his incompetence.

Mr Johnson replied: “She talks about energy. I think the House would agree that she has got a lot more energy than the current leader of the opposition. I welcome her point because actually what the Government is doing is supporting people throughout the pandemic. 2.2 million supported with the Warm Home Discounts, worth £140 per week which we introduced.

“Pensioners supported with the £300 Winter Fuel Payments, Cold Weather Payments worth £25 a week for four million people up and down the country. That is what we are doing.”

Mr Johnson described Liberal Democrat calls to “prevent millions of people going hungry and cold this year” as “balls”.

As Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey stood at PMQs, he was announced by Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle as “Ed Balls”, the former Labour MP and minister.

Mr Johnson welcomed new Lib Dem MP Helen Morgan, adding: “I think the rest of what he (Sir Ed) had to say – balls was the word.

“You were right first time. Your words, Mr Speaker, not mine.

“I simply would advise the House to go back over what I have just said about all the protections we are putting place already.”

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