Rishi Sunak denies financial support was a ‘distraction’ from Partygate, warns further support is unlikely
The Chancellor warned MPs at a select committee that further support in the autumn is unlikely, despite forecats that bills will continue to rise
Rishi Sunak told MPs on the Treasury select committee that the Government has the “tools and determination” to bring down inflation in coming months, and disagreed with comments by a former Treasury colleague criticising the Prime Minister.
Sunak: ‘Further support is unlikely’
The Treasury select committee held a hearing yesterday (6 June) to discuss the financial support package announced by the Chancellor last month.
Mr Sunak told MPs that he believed the measures announced - including a £650 payment for 8 million households - will not result in higher inflation.
Asked whether there will be further support announced in the autumn, when energy bills are expected to rise by around a further £700.
He said: “What we’ve put in place is significant and extends all the way through to the end of the financial year.”
“I think actually we’ve put in place something now that will provide the support people need, but… it’s not possible for a government, any government, any chancellor, to try and make up for all the increases in people’s cost of living.
“But where we can make a difference that is meaningful to ease some of the burden we can and we should, and that’s what we’ve done.”
“I’m confident that we have the tools and the determination to get inflation down over time.”
The chancellor admitted that no specific analysis was carried out on the impact the stimulus package would have on child poverty.
He said that the biggest driver of child poverty is children growing up in a workless household.
Mr Sunak said he disagreed with a statement published today by Jesse Norman, a former Treasury minister, criticising Boris Johnson.
Mr Norman, who served as financial secretary to the Treasury, shared a letter on Twitter in which he criticised the Prime Minister’s conduct in recent months.
Previously a long-time supporter of Mr Johnson, the former Treasury minister said the PM had “presided over a culture of casual law-breaking” with relation to the Downing Street parties.
He described Mr Johnson’s claim that he had been “vindicated” by the Sue Gray report as “grotesque”.
Mr Sunak said he disagreed with Mr Norman’s comments.
He also denied accusations that the announcement of the financial support package was designed to distract from the findings of the Sue Gray report, which was published the day before the support announcement.
Mr Sunak insisted that he had announced the support package at a time when the government was best positioned to know how much support would be required.
What did Rishi Sunak announce last month?
On 27 May the Chancellor announced a £15bn package of measures, including a windfall tax, or levy, on oil and gas firms.
The announcement came following calls for a support package to help people with the rising cost of living, largely driven by increased energy prices.
The package will provide a £650 one-off payment for 8 million of the poorest households, with 8 million pensioners receiving a £300 payment and 6 million disabled people receiving £150.
The Chancellor also scrapped a previously announced £200 loan toward the cost of energy bills, replacing it with a £40 grant available to all households.
The package will be funded by around £10bn of extra borrowing and £5bn from the ‘windfall tax,’ but Mr Sunak insisted he had a “responsible fiscal policy”.
He said that tax breaks for innovation would ensure the windfall tax did not reduce green investment.