“There is no‘ golden bullet ’to solve the cost of living crisis, the minister warned, as Boris Johnson prepares to ask his cabinet ministers to help him find solutions to ease pressure on household finances.
Armed Forces Minister James Happy told Sky News that “there is no doubt” that any government intervention would be “costly”, but added that “collectively” a number of measures could “start to change”.
This comes at a time when the prime minister is preparing to meet with his key counterparts to discuss “innovative” ways to address the cost of living crisis, which are not based solely on rising government spending.
Many people in Britain are facing rising energy bills, municipal taxes and the consequences of raising insurance taxes – as well as inflation reaching a 30-year high of 7% earlier this month.
“There is no doubt that these interventions are costly – £ 22bn to help families with the cost of their lives is already huge,” he said.
“There will be other levers that the government can pull out, and, you know, none of them will become a golden bullet.
“But overall, if you can give people a lot of small savings at their cost of living, then overall it starts to matter.
“So I would not sniff at the abolition of the tariff for a particular type of food, because if it is related to the reduction of the duty on fuel at the pumps, what happened, it will be next to increased personal assistance, increase the national subsistence level, in total you can start seeing and helping people with their electricity bills.
“You can start to see how this is starting to ease the pressure on the families suffering the most.”
Labor has reiterated its call for an “emergency budget” to tackle the rising costs faced by families, warning that “high” prices are putting pressure on working families.
They say this emergency budget should include an unexpected tax from oil and gas companies to cut energy bills.
Number 10 said the government is resuming efforts to raise awareness of the “strong package” of financial assistance already being offered, and warned that “private companies should play their part” in reducing costs.
On the eve of the Cabinet, Mr Johnson said: “As household bills and living expenses are rising in the face of global challenges, easing the burden on the British people and growing our economy must be a concerted effort in the Cabinet.
“We have a strong financial support package worth £ 22 billion and we all need to make sure that the aid covers the most affected and hard-working families across the country.
“We will continue to do our best to support people by not allowing government spending and debt to spiral, continuing to help Britons find good jobs and earn more, no matter where they live.”
But Libdem accused the government of being “completely devoid of ideas.”
“The British now need proper leadership – that means an extraordinary budget, a reduction in VAT and an unexpected tax on the excess profits of oil and gas companies,” said party leader Sir Ed Davy.
Mr Johnson is expected to have asked his cabinet to attend Tuesday morning’s meeting with their proposals to ease pressure on households.
Mr Happy told Sky News he could not say whether any action plan to reduce the cost of living had been agreed, but stressed that the government was taking the matter “seriously”.
“The cost of living is reaching a point where even well-paid people are struggling to make ends meet and they are looking for government to help them find solutions,” he told Sky News.
“Now what they will take this morning in the Cabinet is for them and it is certainly not for me to try to go, but this year alone the government has allocated £ 22 billion in targeted funding to support those most struggling with cost of life.
“And the fact that the cabinet is going to discuss more today shows you how seriously the prime minister, the chancellor and the rest, their colleagues in the cabinet, are taking it.”
Yesterday in the supermarkets of the group Asda and Morrisons announced efforts to help buyers suffering from problems during the cost of living crisis.
Items include fresh fruits, vegetables, fresh meat and frozen foods.
Morrisonthe country’s fourth-largest supermarket, said it had cut prices on more than 500 goods, including cereals, culinary sauces, chicken and sausages, as well as flour, bread and ham.
Asda said prices for affected goods would fall by an average of 12%, while Morrisons said its decline would average 13%.