Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted this morning his Government is doing “everything we can” to help with the cost-of-living crisis.
However, Johnson hinted there is only so much he can do because, in an interview on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, the Prime Minister warned that increasing state support beyond its current levels could drive inflation even higher.
There is a “global context” caused by a surge in energy prices which is hitting all aspects of the economy including food, he said, adding: “The cost of chickens is crazy.”
On energy, Johnson said: “This country is in the insane position of having to take in, pipe in, electricity from France and elsewhere because we haven’t done enough to invest in our own security of energy and electricity.”
Johnson was challenged about the impact of the cost-of-living crisis.
In response to the case of a 77-year-old viewer called Elsie, who has seen her energy bill increase from £17 to £85 a month, has cut down to one meal a day and travels on buses all day to stay out of the house and reduce her bills, the Prime Minister said: “I don’t want Elsie to cut back on anything.”
“The 24-hour freedom bus pass was actually something that I actually introduced.”Boris Johnson
Johnson said there are “plenty of things more that we are doing”, adding: “What we want to do is make sure that we have people who are in particular hardship looked after by their councils, so we are putting much more money into local councils.
“We have the particular payments to help elderly people in particular with the cost of heating.”
Put to him that that means the Government is not doing everything it can, Mr Johnson admitted: “There is more that we can do. But the crucial thing is to make sure we deal with the prices over the medium and long term.”
The Government has set out a £9bn package of loans to cut energy bills and council tax rebates, but Boris Johnson faces calls to go further.
He said: “I accept that those contributions from the taxpayer – because that’s what it is, taxpayers’ money – isn’t going to be enough immediately to cover everybody’s costs.”