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Labour condemns ‘out of touch’ Tory advice for people to buy value brands to cope with cost of living crisis – live | Politics


Labour says Eustice’s value brands advice shows government has no solution to cost of living crisis

Labour says George Eustice’s comments about how people can help to cope with rising prices by buying value brands (own brands), instead of branded products, in supermarkets (see 9.14am) shows the government is “woefully out of touch” and has no solution to the cost of living crisis. This is from Pat McFadden, the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury.

This is woefully out of touch from a government with no solution to the cost of living crisis facing working people.

People are seeing their wages fall, fuel and food costs rise, and families are worried about how to make ends meet.

It’s time for the government to get real help to people rather than comments that simply expose how little they understand about the real struggles people are facing to pay their bills.

Johnson says people are ‘feeling the pinch’ as cost of living rises

Yesterday, after his Good Morning Britain interview, Boris Johnson was accused of not fully appreciating how bad the cost of living crisis is for many people.

He has written about the subject in an article today for the Daily Express. But this may also lead to claims that he is minimising the seriousness of the problem because he talks about people “feeling the pinch”. He says:

I know that families across the country are feeling the pinch as the cost of living rises.

That’s why we’re focused on growing the economy to address the cost of living, and it’s why keeping bills down and cutting council waste is more important than ever.

This seems an understatement. In March the Resolution Foundation thinktank said the cost of living crisis could push an extra 1.3m people into absolute poverty next year.

Labour has been damning about Johnson, but perhaps not as damning as the unnamed Tory former cabinet minister quoted in a Guardian story today by Heather Stewart, Rowena Mason and Jessica Elgot. The former cabinet minister said:

[The PM’s Good Morning Britain interview yesterday] won’t have won us many votes. Boris doesn’t actually care about these people. He basically despises most of the human race, so that makes it quite difficult for him to sympathise.

The full story is here.

Labour says Eustice’s value brands advice shows government has no solution to cost of living crisis

Labour says George Eustice’s comments about how people can help to cope with rising prices by buying value brands (own brands), instead of branded products, in supermarkets (see 9.14am) shows the government is “woefully out of touch” and has no solution to the cost of living crisis. This is from Pat McFadden, the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury.

This is woefully out of touch from a government with no solution to the cost of living crisis facing working people.

People are seeing their wages fall, fuel and food costs rise, and families are worried about how to make ends meet.

It’s time for the government to get real help to people rather than comments that simply expose how little they understand about the real struggles people are facing to pay their bills.

Britons should buy value brands to cope with living cost crisis, says George Eustice

Shoppers can deal with soaring food prices and cope with the cost of living crisis by choosing value brands in the supermarket, George Eustice, the environment secretary, has suggested. My colleague Rowena Mason has the story here.

Starmer refuses to say Labour will reverse national insurance hike at general election

Good morning. Boris Johnson received the Good Morning Britain treatment yesterday, and today it was Keir Starmer’s turn. Predictably he was asked about so-called Beergate (a Tory press obsession to establish equivalence with Partygate – so far unconvincincly, as my colleague Peter Walker explains here), but there was some proper policy in the interview too.

Labour decided to oppose the £12bn annual national insurance increase when the government announced it last year. That was a slightly risky decision, given that the revenue is earmarked for health and social care (rare examples of popular public spending priorities), but the decision has allowed Labour to outflank the Conservatives in recent months as a low-tax party. Labour now has its biggest lead over the Tories as the party that is best on taxation for 10 years.

But this approach does create a fresh problem because it means Labour will have to go into the next election either explaining where else it will find the £12bn to cover this spending, or performing a U-turn and accepting the increase after all. Starmer was asked in the interview if Labour would still be committed to reversing the increase at the time of the election. He refused to give that commitment, explaining it was too soon to say. He said:

In terms of what we will do going into the next election, obviously, I don’t know what the state of the economy will then be. Nobody knows what the state of the economy will then be. We will set out our plans when we get to the election in full.

We’ve set out the principles that we will apply. It will be a fair taxation system, particularly for working people.

Asked if he would raise the top rate of income tax (one method of recouping some or all of the £12bn), Starmer said again Labour would set this out before the next election.

You’re absolutely right to push me. But the leader of the opposition, two years away from an election, not knowing what’s going to happen to the economy, can’t possibly set out in detail what we will do.

The Conservatives are claiming that it is “extraordinary” that Starmer won’t commit to definitely reversing the national insurance hike up to the general election. This is from Simon Clarke, chief secretary to the Treasury.

Extraordinary. @Keir_Starmer has just admitted Labour wouldn’t cancel the National Insurance rise they have been attacking the Government over week after week – which will allow us to deal with NHS Covid backlogs and social care. Yet again, they are just playing political games. https://t.co/rz53BbuImK

— Simon Clarke MP (@SimonClarkeMP) May 4, 2022

I will post more from the interview shortly.

Today is the last day of campaigning before the local elections. All the main party leaders are out doing media events. Boris Johnson is visiting Eastleigh, and Starmer is in Wakefield.

I try to monitor the comments below the line (BTL) but it is impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, do include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I do try to answer questions, and if they are of general interest, I will post the question and reply above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.

If you want to attract my attention quickly, it is probably better to use Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.

Alternatively, you can email me at andrew.sparrow@theguardian.com.





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