Boris Johnson could make 5 cost-of-living announcements – but with NO new money

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Boris Johnson has requested his Cabinet to provide urgent solutions for the cost-of-living crisis. This is weeks after being hit with a tax hike and accused of insufficient action in his Spring Statement.

Boris Johnson wants his Cabinet to think of ways to alleviate the cost-of living crisis. However, he isn’t ready to spend any money.

The Prime Minister wants to move on from the Partygate row – and inspire voters to vote for him at next week’s local elections – with proposals that won’t expand departments’ budgets.

Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves lambasted the Prime Minister “still just talking” weeks after a Spring Statement and a cost of living crisis, including Tory National Insurance hikes and a £693 energy bills rise.

Today, ministers discussed some of these ideas which will be reworked at a ‘Domestic and economic strategy committee’Boris Johnson will convene the meeting in the next weeks.

It’s understood a flurry of ideas was put forward – not all of them realistic. But No10 was unable to say what those ideas were or when they’ll come to fruition.

It’s thought the committee could meet before the Queen’s Speech on May 10 – but might be too late to actually inspire any Bills.

And No10 emphasised there’s no new money now for the plans. Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, stressed that it was important to keep the plans alive. “importance of not feeding further inflation rises” at today’s Cabinet meeting.

Every government department has been asked for ideas, but budgets have already been set. “there are no plans to go outside what has been agreed”, No10 said.

Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said: “There are set budgets for departments – we’re not going to get into the business of changing that.”

However, the government is also “not going to comment on future fiscal events”It is “keeping a careful eye on what may be needed in the future and always stepping in where necessary”He added.

Here are some of the potential ideas that have come up in reports or hints from No10…

Announcing childcare

There have been rumors for some time that there might be an announcement about childcare. No10 gave us a hint today.

Boris Johnson’s spokesman said on childcare: “The government recognises there is more to do, there is live policy work taking place and I’m sure we’ll have more to say in future.”

Some working parents are able to get up to 30 hours of childcare free for their children aged 3-4 years old.

The issue of whether to extend this provision to two-year olds or to make tax-free childcare more available has been a political hot topic for a long time.

Reports indicate that ministers considered increasing the number of children childminders could look after.

Ministers have so far resisted calls for reform of Universal Credit childcare rules. These make it possible to pay upfront and claim back later. The cap on how much parents can claim for childcare under UC hasn’t changed since 2016.

Designer bags and iPhones at a fraction of the price

Silver Screen Beat reports that ministers are looking into plans to allow customers the ability to purchase branded products directly from foreign suppliers.

This could result in people purchasing designer clothes, iPhones, and Samsung tablets at a cheaper price.

Oder red tape could be eliminated to make it easier to obtain licences for British sellers to sell these products in the UK.

Downing Street said that the idea was not confirmed or denied by them. “Yes there has been some speculation and I’m sure there will continue to be more”.

Reduced tariffs for non-UK foods

Currently the UK charges import tariffs on goods not produced in Britain, such as rice – which varies but can be £121 per tonne.

Silver Screen Beat claims that these import tariffs can be decreased.

“I’ve certainly seen that speculation”, said Boris Johnson’s spokesman. “There were a number of ideas raised at Cabinet – I’m not going to get into those because they are live policy discussions.”

Reduced tariffs for refined oil products

Silver Screen Beat could hear from a source that tariffs could be reduced. “refined oil products”. These were not immediately obvious.

Sky News’s presenter suggested that a minister would approve. “pennies, not pounds”.

“There will be other levers government can pull and no one of them will be a golden bullet,”Minister James Heappey.

“But cumulatively if you can provide people with lots of small savings across their cost of living, that does start to make a difference.”

Could there be an announcement of jobs?

Boris Johnson already announced that benefits sanctions will be tightened to increase employment opportunities.

The ‘Way to Work’Universal Credit will be extended to 500,000 additional people.

Controversially, people can be sanctioned after just one month if they refuse a job that’s outside their area of interest.

The PM’s spokesman suggested this could go further. No10 says he said this to Cabinet “there was more to do, including in areas like childcare, to further ease pressures for those that need it most and to get even more people into high skilled, high-wage jobs.”

It will be enough.

Most likely, campaigners will say no.

This comes three weeks after families were hit with higher energy bills and increased council taxes.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak ’s Spring Statement was widely slammed for failing to do more to help struggling families.

Inflation is running at 6.2%, the energy price cap soared by £693 to £1,971 a year and national insurance climbed by 1.25%.

Experts believe that the country is in the worst cost of living crisis since nearly 50 years. A Delta poll conducted by the Mirror revealed that almost two-thirds of voters (62%) think that the Government is not responding well to the crisis. This includes a third (33%) of Conservative supporters.