Prime Minister Boris Johnson will rally ministers behind the Government’s collective duty to grow the economy and do everything possible to continue to help the British people with rising living costs at Cabinet today (Tuesday 26 April).
He will call on his Cabinet colleagues and departments to double down on exploring innovative ways to ease pressures on household finances, promoting the support that is available but not widely taken up, and helping people into high-quality, well-paid jobs across the UK.
People around the country are already benefiting from new financial support this month, including immediate help with energy bills through the £150 council tax rebate, an uplift to incomes of the lowest paid through the National Living Wage, and the biggest cut, in cash terms, on fuel duty. £22 billion worth of support is being made available this year.
The Prime Minister will urge ministers to continue working at pace to ease living costs without solely relying on new government spend. High levels of public debt following the unprecedented support provided during the pandemic, together with rising inflation and interest rates, mean we must maintain control of the public finances rather than burden future generations with higher debt.
The Government is renewing efforts to promote the strong package of support and established government support schemes on offer, where thousands of people and families may be missing out.
For example, it is estimated that around 1.3 million families could be taking up government support through Tax Free Childcare, which offers up to £2,000 towards childcare costs a year, and there are still an estimated 850,000 eligible households who are not claiming Pension Credit, which could be worth over £3,300 a year for pensioners. People are being urged to check their eligibility and register for extra support through dedicated and targeted communications campaigns.
The collective work of Cabinet will be coupled with the Government’s continued focus on growing the economy and supporting people into good jobs as the best way out of poverty – from investing in new infrastructure projects to working with industry through the Way to Work campaign.
Ministers will be looking at other non-fiscal measures, akin to a recent change made by DWP to the automatic increases to energy bills under Universal Credit. Claimants now have more control over how they spend their money and the chance to discuss payment plans directly with energy providers.
Cabinet is also clear that private companies must play their part and so Ministers won’t hesitate to crack down on unacceptable behaviour taking place within industry, where they are unfairly pushing up bills further for hard-working people. This comes as the Business Secretary wrote to Ofgem to urgently look into claims that energy suppliers may be making unjustified increases to consumers’ direct debits.
Ahead of Cabinet, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“With household bills and living costs rising in the face of global challenges, easing the burden on the British people and growing our economy must be a team effort across Cabinet.
“We have a strong package of financial support on offer, worth £22 billion, and it’s up to all of us to make sure that help is reaching the hardest-hit and hard-working families across the country.
“We will continue to do all we can to support people without letting Government spending and debt spiral, whilst continuing to help Brits to find good jobs and earn more, no matter where they live.”