Ken Clarke attacks Rishi Sunak for failing to help poor and underpaid people affected by the cost of living crisis


Ken Clarke has attacked Rishi Sunak’s efforts to alleviate the cost of living crisis, warning that they are failing to help the poor while rewarding the better off.

The former Conservative Chancellor called the 5p fuel tax cut a “complete waste of time” and the £150 tax refund to help with rising energy bills ill-targeted.

Instead, Mr Sunak should increase Universal Credit payments as the best way to help “the poor and the lowest paid”, Lord Clarke said – rather than cut them by £20 a week.

“I would scrap all tax cuts. I already have all the tax breaks I need,” the Tory peer said LBC radio.

“Obviously, the people you need to protect from falling living standards where possible are the poorest of the poor and the worst paid.

Instead, Mr Sunak cut Universal Credit, Lord Clarke said, adding: “And there people are really choosing between feeding and other bills.”

He said: “I get my check to save me from energy poverty. I stopped playing Social Security when I was 65.”

And he added: “I didn’t need the loan, which I seem to have received through my council tax, to pay my heating bills – although of course my heating bills are increasing at a worrying rate.”

In the interview, the peer also says:

* Attacking Boris Johnson’s plan to tear up the Northern Ireland Protocol, which would provoke “a trade war with our largest trading partner”.

* Criticism of weak cabinet ministers who parrot “slogans” from someone in a think tank “who now works in Downing Street”.

* Has opposed a windfall tax on excess profits from energy companies, arguing that it would deter investment in new renewable energy sources.

The criticism came after the cost of living crisis dominated the Prime Minister’s questions, as Keir Starmer taunted Mr Johnson about the government’s paralysis.

Earlier, the CPI inflation rate hit the highest level since 1982 – it is forecast to hit 10 percent by the end of the year.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said emergency aid to those in need and vulnerable businesses was “vital”, while the British Chambers of Commerce reiterated Labor’s calls for an emergency budget.

Sir Keir accused Mr Johnson of “having his head in the sand in the middle of an economic crisis”, adding: “The Prime Minister keeps saying there is more aid coming but we’ve heard it all before.

“Working people across the country cannot afford to wait while it falters. It’s time to make up your mind,” said the Labor leader. Ken Clarke attacks Rishi Sunak for failing to help poor and underpaid people affected by the cost of living crisis

Bobby Allyn

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