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Cost of living latest: Starmer says energy bill freeze ‘will bring inflation down’

Related video: Labor to outline £29bn plan to avert energy bill rises

Labour’s plan to freeze energy bills for six months would counter soaring inflation, Sir Keir Starmer said as he prepared to formally propose the £29bn scheme to halt the coming energy price cap hike.

The plan is “fully costed and comprehensive” and would be partially funded by a tax expanding the windfall tax on oil and gas companies, the Labor leader told ITV’s Good Morning Britain.

Asked why Labor chose a policy that would halt price rises for all households rather than prioritizing the poorest, Sir Keir said: “Doing it across the board, that brings inflation down.”

Meanwhile, overwhelmed food banks have told The Independent they are unable to cope with unprecedented demand and are being forced to turn away families in need as more people are falling into hardship due to the UK’s cost of living crisis.

A coalition of 70 charities urged Tory leadership contenders to more than double the level of emergency support to low-income families in order to avert a “catastrophe” this winter.

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Starmer refuses to apologize for family holiday

Sir Keir Starmer told the Today program he was “not going to apologize” for going on holiday with his family, because as well as his job as Labor leader he had another important job “as a dad”.

Some backbench Labor MPs criticized their leader for taking a summer break last week as the energy crisis deepened with projections of far higher than expected price rises.

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Tory ‘internal battle’ distracting ‘lame duck’ government from real issues, says Starmer

Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer said the Conservative leadership contest was an “internal battle” distracting from the cost of living crisis while the country is being led by “lame duck” Boris Johnson.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live Labor would keep some of the government’s cost of living support measures, including payments to pensioners and Universal Credit claimants, despite planning to cancel a £400 rebate in favor of a plan to freeze energy bills.

“We’re saying we’re not going to let the price go up in the first place and so that’s how the £400 is catered for,” he said.

He added: “We’ve got to grip it because at the moment what we’ve got is two Tory leadership candidates who are fighting each other in a sort of internal battle, where their main argument seems to be about how awful their record in government has been and a prime minister who’s a lame duck because he’s acknowledged there’s a problem with energy bills, but says ‘I’m not going to do anything about it’.”

Sir Keir had earlier used the lame duck jibe at Mr Johnson over the weekend.

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Labor energy bill freeze ‘will bring inflation down’, says Starmer

Labour’s plan to freeze energy bills for six months would counter soaring inflation, Sir Keir Starmer said as he presented the policy to the nation.

The plan to halt Ofgem’s planned energy price cap hike is “fully costed and comprehensive” and would be partially funded by a tax expanding the windfall tax on oil and gas companies, the Labor leader told ITV’s Good Morning Britain.

Asked why Labor chose a policy that would halt price rises for all households rather than prioritizing the poorest, Sir Keir said: “Doing it across the board, that brings inflation down.”

The costing for the plan accounts for £7bn in debt interest payments that the party claims would be saved through reduced inflation.

The rest of the price freeze would be paid for using the £14bn earmarked by the government for extra support to cover energy bill rises and £8bn from expanding the windfall tax.

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Starmer says Labor has ‘costed’ energy bill freeze plan

Sir Keir Starmer is doing the media rounds this morning ahead of the formal announcement of Labour’s plan to freeze energy bills for six months.

On BBC Radio 5 Livethe opposition leader said he was putting forward a “very strong, robust, costed plan” to tackle cost-of-living increases.

He said: “Millions of people are already struggling with their bills, we all know that across the country and the hikes that are expected for this October … from a price cap of just under about £2,000 to £3,500 and then £4,200 and millions of people, millions of families are saying ‘I just can’t afford that’.

“We have a choice and this is really the political choice of the day. We either allow oil and gas companies to go on making huge profits which is what’s happening at the moment or we do something about it.

“We the Labor Party have said, we’ll do something about it. We will stop those price rises and we will extend the windfall tax on the profits that the oil and gas companies did not expect to make. So we’ve got a very strong, robust, costed plan here which will stop those rises this autumn.

“It has an additional benefit which is really important, which is because energy prices are a real driver of inflation, this also makes sure that we can reduce inflation from what might even be 13 percent down to about 9 percent.”

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Three in four Tory voters back Labour’s energy bill freeze

Three-quarters of Conservative voters support Sirk Keir Starmer’s plan to freeze energy bills to tackle the cost-of-living crisis.

The Labor leader will today formally announce a £29bn scheme to stop energy price rises for six months, while ministers come under pressure to increase aid for struggling households.

Energy regulator Ofgem earlier this year increased the annual price cap for an average household on default tariffs paying by direct debit from £1,277 to £1,971 – a £693 increase.

A poll by YouGov for The Times found that 75 percent of the public support fixing the cap on energy bills even if it means more government borrowing – the figure was the same among 2019 Tory voters.

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Rail fare rise won’t be as high as inflation, says government

An expected rise in rail fares in England next year will stay lower than inflation in order to help commuters with the cost-of-living crisis, the government has announced.

The amount rail fares increase each year is calculated by the previous July’s retail price index (RPI) – which measures inflation.

Ahead of the rate for 2023 being announced on Wednesday, the Department of Transport (DfT) confirmed to the BBC that it would not be increasing fares as much as the July RPI figure.

A DfT spokesperson said the increase, which usually comes into effect in January, will be delayed until March in a bid “to help struggling households”.

They added: “The government is taking decisive action to reduce the impact inflation will have on rail fares during the cost of living crisis and will not be increasing fares as much as the July RPI figure.”

It is not yet clear how much lower the rise will be compared to that RPI figure.

Campaigners have been lobbying for the government to do away with the RPI method of calculating the annual fare increase, fearing that high prices will turn commuters away from public transport.

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Shapps proposes £2 bus fare cap amid cost of living crisis

Grant Shapps has proposed a £2 bus fare cap to help Britons with the cost of living crisis, reports The Telegraph.

Under the plan, the transport secretary has proposed a subsidy of £260m which could help travelers save up to £3 on a single ticket.

“The most vulnerable in our society need concrete help in the coming year, measures that make an immediate and tangible difference to daily spending,” he said, according to the outlet.

File: Britain transport secretary Grant Shapps at 10 Downing Street on 7 July 2022

(AFP via Getty Images)

“And a simple way to do this is to reduce the burden on those of us who rely on buses to get to work, the shops and the GP. Buses are for all of us, the most ubiquitous form of public transport.”

The proposal, which Mr. Shapps is believed to have been working on since the beginning of this year, was given renewed energy amid soaring fuel prices.

It was reported to be under consideration by Downing Street before prime minister Boris Johnson agreed to step down, but had been facing push-back from the Treasury.

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Johnson spotted in Greece on second holiday in two weeks amid cost of living crisis

Boris Johnson has been spotted in Greece enjoying his second summer holiday in two weeks despite the deepening cost of living crisis.

The prime minister has been accused of leading a “zombie” government and failing to provide reassurance to families anxious about soaring energy bills expected to hit almost £3,600 this October.

Labor accused Mr. Johnson of treating his final weeks in office as “one big party” after he was filmed shopping for groceries in a supermarket in Greece.

Greek news websites reported that the outgoing prime minister and his wife Carrie were in Nea Makri, a coastal town near Athens, and only a few hours away from where his father Stanley has a villa.

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Scottish salmon industry facing ‘acute’ labor shortages, bosses warn

Scotland’s salmon industry is facing “acute” labor shortages due to Brexit, business chiefs have warned.

In letters to candidates in the Tory leadership contest, Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss, Salmon Scotland has called for a more “enlightened” approach to immigration to assist businesses.

The body says the industry does not have enough staff across key skill areas due to workers returning to their homes in Eastern Europe as a result of Brexit.

“Very low unemployment and extremely limited labor availability in areas where our businesses have processing facilities, namely Rosyth near Edinburgh, Argyll, Fort William, Stornoway, Dingwall and three separate sites in Shetland mean processing factories are running 20 percent light on staff,” Salmon Scotland said.

A change to key worker definitions, changes to the salary cap level and a broader public signal that the UK is open to people and thus to business have been cited by the body as measures to improve the issue.

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Rail fare increase in England will be below inflation rate, says government

An expected increase to rail fares in England will be less than July’s retail price index to help commuters cope with the cost-of-living crisis, said the government.

The price rise, which will come into effect next year, will be lower than the rate of inflation, according to BBC News and The Times.

The amount rail fares increase each year is calculated by the previous July’s retail price index (RPI). Ahead of the rate for 2023 being announced on Wednesday, the Department of Transport (DfT) confirmed to the BBC that it would not be increasing fares as much as the July RPI figure.

A DfT spokesperson said the increase, which usually comes into effect in January, will be delayed until March in a bid “to help struggling households”.

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