politics

Boris Johnson flies home into growing storm over soaring food and energy prices, tax hikes and benefit cuts



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oris Johnson flew back to a growing storm in Britain on Thursday over rising food and energy prices, the cut to Universal Credit and tax hikes.

After a three-day trip to America, the Prime Minister faced warnings of a looming winter crisis, though ministers denied it would be a return to 1970s’ shortages.

However millions of households face budget squeezes as:

* Industry experts estimated that around 300,000 of the 1.9 million energy customers whose suppliers have already gone bust this year are London based, with many of them being hit with bill rises from cheaper deals.

* Business minister Paul Scully made clear that the energy price cap, keeping down bills, could rise in the spring which would mean higher prices for millions. He told Sky News: “There are clearly pressures on that.”

“We’re probably looking at, for food overall, you know, mid-single digit increases which is much higher than we’ve had in recent years,” he told ITV’s Robert Peston.

* Leading Conservative Baroness Ruth Davidson rejected arguments put forward by the Government on axing the £20-a-week Universal Credit top-up brought in during the pandemic.

The former leader of the Scottish Conservatives said: “I don’t think any of it washes…It’s the wrong thing to do for people on low incomes.”

* But Mr Scully said taxes would need to rise even higher to keep the £20 UC uplift.

He said: “If you were to reverse the Universal Credit as it is, you would have to put up income tax by the equivalent of a penny and 3p on fuel.



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