People struggling with the rising cost of living will receive more help this winter, a Cabinet minister has suggested.
Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, who is backing Liz Truss in the Tory leadership contest, said the government was “working on options for the new prime minister”.
In an article for the Mail on Sunday, Kwarteng said he understood the “deep anxiety” rising prices were causing.
“As winter approaches, millions of families will be concerned about how they are going make ends meet,” he added.
“But I want to reassure the British people that help is coming.”
Kwarteng said Truss, who is currently the favourite to replace Boris Johnson as prime minister, “will look at what more can be done to help families”.
However, he said it was “entirely reasonable not to detail the exact shape of that support until she has all the information to hand”.
The government is under pressure to act as inflation hit a 40-year high of 10.1 per cent this week, largely owing to a spike in the price of household staples.
And projections from experts have found that the energy price cap, currently at £1,971 a year, could rocket to £6,000 next April.
Energy consultancy Auxilione said the cap is expected to reach £3,576 in October, rising to £4,799 in January, and finally hitting £6,089 in April.
Labour has vowed to freeze the price cap at its current level while Truss has said she would temporarily scrap green levies on energy bills to bring them down.
Her rival, Rishi Sunak, has said he would also scrap VAT on energy bills for the next year in a move that would save households around £160 a year.
Both leadership rivals have also said they will study proposals from the Treasury over how to bring bills down for families.
One such option to help struggling households, reported by the Sun on Sunday, is to allow GPs to write prescriptions to knock money off energy bills for those most in need.
The GP would verify through a consultation whether the patient needed help and if they did, money could be made available via the local council or in the form of a voucher for gas and electricity.
In response, Labour’s shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said the Conservatives had “lost the plot on the cost of living and haven’t got a clue about the level of pressure on the NHS”.
The Conservatives have lost the plot on the cost of living crisis and haven’t got a clue about the level of pressure on the NHS.
Labour already has the right prescription for dealing with rising energy bills. We need a Labour government to deliver it.https://t.co/KbXCuUxKwU
— Wes Streeting MP (@wesstreeting) August 20, 2022
Elsewhere, Kwarteng said shoring up the UK’s energy independence was vital for Truss, saying she would look at building more nuclear power stations and allowing fracking to take place where local communities approve.
The business secretary poured cold water on the idea of further windfall taxes, saying the country instead needed to “incentivise investment in domestic oil and gas for our own energy security”.
“I appreciate windfall taxes are sometimes popular. But popularity won’t keep the lights on.”
Source: Huff Post