Govt will be 'realistic not optimistic' about cost of living crisis, says Welsh Sec

10 May 2022, 16:35 | Updated: 11 May 2022, 09:44

Boris Johnson has suggested he may announce new support to tackle the cost of living crisis
Boris Johnson has suggested he may announce new support to tackle the cost of living crisis. Picture: Alamy/LBC

By Daisy Stephens

Boris Johnson has hinted the Government may be gearing up to offer more support to help people cope with the cost of living crisis.

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Speaking to MPs at a debate following the Queen's Speech, Mr Johnson said the Government needed "legislative power" to fix the underlying problems responsible for the crisis - but also said people could expect to hear more about what the Government is doing to tackle the crisis in the coming days.

He suggested that, after 2024, the Government will have "the fiscal firepower to help families up and down the country".

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He then said: "My right honourable friend the Chancellor and I will be saying more about this in the days to come."

He added: "But at the same time as we help people, we need the legislative firepower to fix the underlying problems in energy supply, in housing, in infrastructure and in skills which are driving up costs for families across the country."

He said the Queen's Speech "takes those issues head on".

Speaking on Andrew Marr Welsh Secretary of State Simon Hart, said Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson will review the crisis "weekly" "until the UK is out the other side".

Adding that the Coronavirus pandemic has shown that this government is "flexible" and that "every option is on the table at all times".

When Andrew said it would be "cruel" for the government to speculate an announcement would be made by the Government which would help families and then not follow through, Mr Hart said:" I hope we can be realistic rather than optimistic and not lead people into believing that there is some kind of false hope.

"It’s going to be tough, but all of the eyes and all of the effort of the treasury and Number 10 are on this particular challenge."

The UK has been facing an escalating cost of living crisis since the end of last year.

Energy prices have soared and are expected to raise even higher in the autumn.

As well as this, people have been grappling with record rises in inflation, a national insurance hike and increases in other expenses such as council tax.

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On Tuesday the Government slammed by opposition parties for not offering more concrete plans to tackle the cost of living crisis in the Queen's Speech.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the crisis was the result of the Government's "failure to grow the economy over a decade combined with its inertia in the face of spiralling bills means that we are staring down the barrel of something we haven't seen in decades, a stagflation crisis".

He accused the Government of "complacency" and said: "We have a Government whose time is passed, a Cabinet out of ideas and out of energy, led by a Prime Minister who is entirely out of touch."

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said the plan "does nothing to help the millions of families and pensioners facing soaring bills and eye watering inflation".

The Government was also criticised for not offering more help in its Spring Statement seven weeks ago.

Tuesday's Queen's Speech was delivered by Prince Charles in a historic first, after the 96-year-old Monarch had to pull out for health reasons.

As well promising the cost of living crisis was a "priority" for Government, the Speech also talked about plans to toughen punishments for protesters in a bid to prevent disruptive demonstrations, such as those staged by Insulate Britain and Just Stop Oil.

The Prince also read out pledges to improve the regulation of social housing to strengthen the rights of tenants and "protect the integrity" of the UK's borders by preventing illegal Channel crossings.

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Boris Johnson has been under increasing pressure to tackle the cost of living crisis
Boris Johnson has been under increasing pressure to tackle the cost of living crisis. Picture: Alamy

There were also strong words on climate change, with the Government promising an Energy Bill to "deliver the transition to cheaper, cleaner, and more secure energy".

A total of 38 bills were announced by the Prince of Wales, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the Speech "delivers on [the Tory Party's] promises".

"It will not only take us through the aftershocks of Covid but build the foundations for decades of prosperity, uniting and levelling up across the country," he added.