Speaking on BBC One ahead of chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Budget on Wednesday, he said he is “virtually out of tools to help people now”.
Lewis said: “Just on energy alone, on a conservative estimate within one year, we’re talking £1,300 a year going up in bills. We’re going to have about 10 million people in fuel poverty, we have a real, absolute, not relative poverty issue going to come in the UK, with food banks oversubscribed.
“Debt crisis agencies do not have any tools – and I need to say, with the chancellor coming on in a moment, as the money saving expert whose been known for this, I am virtually out of tools to help people now. It’s not something money management can fix. It’s not something for those on the lowest incomes, telling them to cut their belts will work. We need political intervention.”
Lewis established the website MoneySavingExpert.com to provide financial tips and tricks, consumer advice, and help citizens cut their costs, find deals and beat the system.
He went on to say: “I’ve been the Money Saving Expert since 2000…I’ve been through the financial crash, I’ve been through Covid. This is the worst, where we are right now.
“I’m reading messages from people saying money prioritisation used to be, do I go to the hairdressers or do I go to the pub? Now it’s about, I’m prioritising feeding my children over feeding myself. That is simply not tenable in our society. There is absolutely panic and it has not started yet.”
Chancellor Sunak said the public should not be “scared” about rising energy prices, when asked by Sophie Raworth on Sunday Morning if he was prepared to offer more support.
Sunak said: “Of course I am, and people can judge me by my actions over the past two years. Where we have been able to make a difference, I have tried to do that.”
When told the energy price cap was likely to rise significantly in October, Sunak said: “We don’t know and I don’t want people to be scared. What we have is a price cap that will protect people all the way through to the autumn. We’ve acted now to help them with the increase that is coming in, in April – the situation is obviously very volatile in Ukraine.”
He said it was “too early to speculate” on what might happen with the price cap in October.
In response, the Institute for Public Policy Research – the UK’s leading progressive think tank – said Sunak must set out comprehensive measures to secure people’s living standards when the Spring Budget is announced on Wednesday.
The chancellor is expected to address the cost of living crisis with plans including a cut to fuel duty.
Lewis previously said he was worried about a “deliberate narrative shift” which blames the cost of living crisis on the war in Ukraine – adding that the rises in energy, heating, oil, water, Council Tax, broadband and mobiles, food and National Insurance, were all in place before Ukraine.
He later tweeted: “A few people have asked me today about ‘being political’. I am always political. I will always be political. My whole work campaigning for consumers is political.
“Yet I try never to be party political. I am open minded to all parties & work and co-operate with many when asked.”
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