Ministers “fly blind” into one cost of living crisis, as they have repeatedly failed to carry out an impact assessment of the number of households that will be thrown into fuel poverty this year, I can reveal.
Tory fears are rising that the government is not equipped to deal with the looming storm, and a senior backer warns Boris Johnson that he risks losing the next election because of his handling of the problem.
It has been found that over 65s are faced with paying £ 360 more a year on their energy bills when the energy price cap is lifted in April. Separate research also showed that one million more people will be affected by a “stealth tax” of 11 billion pounds by 2026.
The Department of Business, Energy and Industry Strategy has failed to provide an estimate of the number of households that will fall into fuel poverty in 2022, according to two separate parliamentary questions asked last month, despite calls on the government to provide further support for these. most vulnerable.
According to the latest data, based on figures from 2019, around 3.2 million households are currently in fuel poverty, but with energy prices expected to almost double from April, MPs have warned that the government is not prepared for the challenges lies ahead.
Liberal Democrat spokeswoman Wera Hobhouse accused the government of “failing millions of hard-working families and thousands of retirees”.
She added: “It is shameful and shows how detached they are that they are flying blindly into the cost of living and burning the poverty crisis ahead of us now with no plans to tackle it. The government must immediately carry out an impact assessment.”
Her comments follow concerns expressed by senior Tories, who warned the prime minister that he risks losing “Red Wall” voters unless he addresses the “tsunami” of problems facing people’s economies in the coming months.
An analysis by the House of Commons Library showed that about 1.2 million additional workers will find their earnings above the 40 percent tax threshold as a result of the government’s decision to freeze the personal tax deduction and a higher tax threshold.
Nearly 1.5 million more people will be brought in to pay the basic level of income tax.
Jake Berry, chair of the Northern Research Group of Tory MPs, insisted that the news that more people are facing higher taxes “plays into a broader concern about this cost-of-living tsunami that is hitting Britain “.
Rossendale and Darwen MP told Times Radio: “The next election will not be won or lost because of Covid or the government’s response to it … but if people feel poorer and they have not seen a level up in their society, then they go looking for change. ”
He also attacked the 1.5 percent increase in national insurance contributions, which will hit people’s wage packages from April, and he accused Jacob Rees-Mogg of crying “crocodile tears” over the policy after it emerged he criticized the plan in this uges cabinet.
“I do not think it’s the right policy, I think it’s badly thought out, and I think it’s probably time to look at this again,” Berry said.
“It’s all very good [for Mr Rees-Mogg] to turn around now with crocodile tears to say: ‘Look what my policy has created, it certainly should not have happened’. In fact, it was time to do something about it when it was proposed. ”