George Eustice slapped down over cost of living crisis
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Environment Secretary George Eustice has been slapped down over the UK Government’s response to the cost of living crisis in Britain on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. Today host Nick Robinson grilled the minister over Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s remarks regarding the cost of living quoted on the front page of the Daily Express on Wednesday.
Mr Robinson told the minister: “This morning in the Daily Express, the Prime Minister writes about what he’ll do.
“He says that people are feeling the pinch.
“Do you think it’s really adequate to say to someone who has to go to a food bank, not once or twice, but routinely to be able to eat?!
“Is it adequate to say to someone who travels by bus, so they don’t have to turn on the heating to describe them as feeling that pitch?!”
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Mr Eustice responded: “Well, I don’t think actually that is what he said during the interview yesterday, he listed a range of measures we put in place.
“No I’m quoting him from the Daily Express, he writes a column ‘I know that families across the country are feeling the pinch,'” snapped the Radio 4 host.
“That’s what he writes, indeed it is on the front page of The Daily Express.”
Mr Eustice responded: “That they are yes, so we do recognise that that’s why we’ve put in place the package of measures that we have and it includes…”
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The minister was cut off by Mr Robinson, who said: “So feeling the pinch is your description of what’s happening to families up and down the country, as against other people who say this is the worst cost of living crisis that we’ve seen for decades, which is forcing people to choose between heating and eating in some cases.”
The Environment Secretary went on to warn that “throwing more money” at tackling the cost-of-living crisis could send inflation even higher.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We’re seeing inflationary pressures right around the world, inflation running at over 7 percent in the United States and higher still in the EU and, yes, inflation growing here as well.
“If, on top of that, we were to borrow more money and have that fiscal loosening and spend more money into that environment, there would be a real danger that inflation would start to spiral out of control ad would get beyond our reach, and then we would have some difficulties.”
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Asked if that means benefit and pensions cannot keep pace with the rising cost of living, Mr Eustice said: “What we’re saying is we can’t borrow money, and throw more money to get people, to get us out of this difficulty because it’s an inflationary environment.”
“We’ve just got to show restraint or there is a danger that this will become an inflationary bubble that gets out of control,” Mr Eustice told added.
“We can’t go too far, we can’t mitigate all of the impacts.”
He said Chancellor Rishi Sunak has set out a “very clear package of measures to mitigate the impacts of those price rises, not removing them altogether”.
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