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[Politics]Rishi Sunak defends government cost-of-living support


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Rishi Sunak has said it is difficult for people to understand the scale of government support with energy bills, as he defended his record on tackling the cost of living. The prime minister said halving inflation was a top priority and his plan to ease rising prices was working. It comes as the latest figures showed inflation slowed last month due to lower energy costs. But food, restaurants and hotel costs are still rising. The inflation rate, which measures price changes over time, fell to 6.8% in the year to July, down from 7.9% in June. This means prices are rising less quickly. Inflation is much lower than it was at its peak of 11.1% in October, but it still remains high compared to historical rates and much higher than the Bank of England's 2% target. Why is UK inflation so high? What can I do if I can't pay my energy bill? Speaking at a business event in Enderby, Leicestershire, Mr Sunak said that unlike furlough, where the government subsidised wages of employees hit by the Covid pandemic, "no one quite understands the scale of what we've done" with energy bill support. "A typical family will have had about half their energy bills paid for by the government over past several months - that's worth £1,500 to a typical family," he said.

 

"Now you wouldn't have quite seen that because you would have still just got your energy bill, it would have been very high and you'd have been, 'Oh my gosh, what's going on', but what you wouldn't have realised, maybe, is that before that even happened, £1,500 had been lopped off, and the government had covered it." Under the Energy Price Guarantee, the government limited energy bills for a typical household to £2,500 a year, alongside a £400 winter discount. However, the guarantee ended in July. A Labour Party spokesperson said: "Rishi Sunak might want to patronise people by telling them they don't understand what's going on, but most families know that it was the Conservatives that crashed the economy and left them worse off, with higher bills and higher prices in the shops." The Liberal Democrats described Mr Sunak's comments as "woefully out of touch". The party's Cabinet Office spokeswoman Christine Jardine said: "Does he expect the public to give the Conservative Party a pat on the back for crashing the economy and adding hundreds of pounds a month to people's mortgages? "He just does not get it."

 

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-66521633

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