Truss’s ally Kwasi Kwarteng said she would “see what more can be done to help families” if elected Conservative leader next month. (Photo: Getty Images)
People struggling with rising cost of living will get more help this winter, a Cabinet minister suggested.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, who is backing Liz Truss in the Conservative leadership race, said the government was “working on options for the new prime minister”.
In an article for the Mail on Sunday, Kwarteng said he understood the “deep anxiety” that rising prices were causing.
“As winter approaches, millions of families will be worried about how they will survive,” he added.
“But I want to reassure the British people that help is coming.”
Kwarteng said Truss, who is currently the favorite to replace Boris Johnson as prime minister, “will look at what more can be done to help families.”
However, he said it was “totally reasonable not to detail the exact form of that support until she has all the information at hand.”
The government is under pressure to act as inflation hit a 40-year high of 10.1% this week, largely due to a rise in the price of staple foods.
And expert projections have found that the energy price cap, currently at £1,971 a year, could soar to £6,000 by next April.
Energy consultancy Auxilione said the cap is expected to reach £3,576 in October, rising to £4,799 in January and finally reaching £6,089 in April.
Labor promised to freeze the price cap at its current level, while Truss said he would temporarily eliminate green taxes on energy bills to reduce them.
His rival Rishi Sunak said he would also eliminate VAT on energy bills for next year, in a move that would save families around £160 a year.
Both leadership rivals also said they would study Treasury proposals on how to reduce bills for households.
One such option to help struggling families, reported by the Sun on Sunday, is allowing GPs to write prescriptions to reduce energy bill money for those most in need.
The GP would check through a consultation if the patient needed help and, if needed, the money could be made available through the local council or in the form of a gas and electricity voucher.
In response, Labor shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said Conservatives had “lost a sense of the cost of living and have no idea of the level of pressure on the NHS”.
Elsewhere, Kwarteng said strengthening the UK’s energy independence is vital for Truss, saying she intends to build more nuclear plants and allow fracking to take place where local communities approve.
The business secretary threw cold water on the idea of more unexpected taxes, saying the country needed to “encourage investment in domestic oil and gas for our own energy security.”
“I appreciate that unexpected taxes are sometimes popular. But popularity won’t keep the lights on.”
This article was originally published on HuffPost UK and has been updated.