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Social Justice

Boris Johnson under increasing pressure from Tories to tackle cost of living crisis

Ex-Conservative ministers and peers are speaking publicly against the government’s inaction over the cost of living crisis.

Tory ministers are under increasing scrutiny over the looming cost of living crisis threatening to drive down living standards.

With another hike in energy prices just months away and set to coincide with an increase in taxes, criticism over the government’s handling of the problem is coming from within Conservative party ranks.

That includes three former Tory ministers demanding Boris Johnson take immediate action. Esther McVey, former work and pensions secretary, said the crisis would cause “huge difficulties for countless families” across the country and urged the government to protect household budgets from the “excessive price rises”.

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The cost of living crisis and unaffordable energy bills will be “the big political issue for 2022,” she added, urging Chancellor Rishi Sunak to scrap the national insurance increase.

Average fuel bills could hit £2,000 per year within months, economists have warned. The UK energy sector is in chaos after a 500 per cent increase in global wholesale gas prices in 2021, causing more than 20 providers to fold and bills to soar despite the energy price cap.

Around six million people could be forced to choose between heating their homes, keeping the lights on, buying food or affording clothes for their children when the price cap rises again in April, fuel poverty campaigners warned.

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Ofgem increased the cap by £139 to £1,277 in October, and could rise again to £1,891 this April, Citizens Advice estimated.

The rapidly increasing cost of daily essentials far outstrips below-inflation pay increases handed out to workers in recent months, economists have said, while older people could also be at increased risk of falling into poverty.

Baroness Ros Altmann, a Conservative peer and pensions expert, said older Brits were facing a “perfect storm”.

“Excess winter deaths among the elderly averaged tens of thousands each year, but without more help, the numbers suffering or dying this winter are likely to rise sharply,” she said.

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A government spokesperson said: “We are taking £4.2bn of decisive action to help deal with the pressures that people are facing with the cost of living.

“This includes the energy price cap protecting millions of customers and ensuring they pay a fair price for their energy and Winter Fuel Payments.

“These are supporting over 11 million pensioners with their energy bills, as well as the reduction in the universal credit taper rate which puts an average of £1,000 more per year into the pockets of working families on universal credit.”

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