Related video: Labour to outline £29bn plan to avert energy bill rises
Labour’s plan to freeze energy bills for six months would bring a “double benefit” by countering 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 expanding the windfall tax on oil and gas companies, the Labour leader told ITV’s Good Morning Britain.
Asked why Labour chose a policy that would halt price rises for all households rather than prioritising the poorest, Sir Keir said: “Doing it across the board, that brings inflation down” – highlighting what he called the “double benefit” of slowing price rises while keeping bills lower.
Meanwhile, schools are reportedly discussing three or four-day weeks due to inflationary pressure and teacher pay rises.
Earlier, overwhelmed food banks 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.
Removal vans arrive at No 10
Large removal vans have arrived outside No 10 Downing Street as Boris Johnson’s premiership enters its final weeks.
The prime minister is currently on holiday in Greece, his second summer break in a fortnight.
Liam James15 August 2022 13:08
Boris Johnson ‘continuing to work’ while on second holiday in two weeks, senior Tory claims
A senior Conservative MP has defended Boris Johnson‘s work ethic and claimed he is “continuing to work” while away on his second holiday in two weeks (Jon Stone writes).
The prime minister, who has less than a month left in office, has now reportedly jetted off to Greece for a week – shortly after returning from an earlier trip.
The holidays are taking place despite surging inflation and the threat of a looming recession.
But speaking on Monday former Cabinet minister and ex party chairman Brandon Lewis defended Mr Johnson, rejecting any suggestion that he had “thrown in the towel”.
“Even when you are not in the office in Downing Street you are working,” he told LBC radio.
PM spotted in Greece shortly after returning from break in Slovenia
Liam James15 August 2022 12:28
Iran’s response to Salman Rushdie stabbing ‘truly sickening’, says David Lammy
Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy comments by an Iranian government official about the assault on author Sir Salman Rushdie were “truly sickening”.
Nasser Kanaani, the spokesman of Iran’s foreign ministry, denied involvement by Tehran and implied that Sir Salman brought the attack on himself.
Mr Lammy said: “It is truly sickening that the Iranian government has the audacity to blame Salman Rushdie and his supporters for the brutal attack on his life.
“Salman Rushdie is an inspirational writer and a courageous defender of our values. Any attack on him is an assault on free speech and liberty.
“The UK government must urgently put diplomatic pressure on the Iranian government to withdraw and apologise for these shameful comments.”
Sir Salman was attacked on Friday at an event in New York state. Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old man has been charged with attempted murder.
The prime minister has condemned the attack.
Liam James15 August 2022 12:06
Editor of leading Tory blog comes out for Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak is the sensible choice for Tory leader, the editor of Conservative Home, a blog for party members, said.
Paul Goodman, a former Tory MP who now runs the blog, advised Tory members who cannot decide on a candidate to go with MPs and back Mr Sunak, who won every round of preliminary voting.
Mr Goodman said Liz Truss’s plans for the economy could prove damaging at a sensitive time.
He said: “Broadly speaking, Sunak wants to stick with the present plan and Truss wants to change it. In the medium term, she is right: we can’t just carry on with the near-zero interest rates, quantitative easing, zombie economy model of the last ten years.
“But in the short term, Sunak is right. The combination of tax cuts, higher spending and politicians fiddling with the Bank of England’s mandate during uncertain times could spook the markets. Wanting higher rates in principle is a good thing; getting them in practice quite another, if it guarantees, lengthens or deepens recession.”
Liam James15 August 2022 11:36
Hundreds of bus routes will be axed if pandemic-era funding withdrawn, say mayors
Bus operators will axe hundreds of routes unless government funding introduced to keep services running during the pandemic is continued past its scheduled end-date in October, according to metro mayors in northern England.
Half of routes will be affected “in some form” with many losing “all services” after 7pm, the four mayors claimed in a joint letter to Boris Johnson, Nadhim Zahawi, the chancellor, and Grant Shapps, the transport secretary.
The letter was signed by Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, Jamie Driscoll, Mayor of North of Tyne, Oliver Coppard, Mayor of South Yorkshire, and Steve Rotheram, Mayor of Liverpool City Region.
They wrote: “In each of our regions, bus operators have now notified that they intend to withdraw hundreds of bus routes.”
They went on: “Without action, the changes to bus provision will have a devastating effect on the communities affected, add to the cost of living crisis and will compromise the aims of the National Bus Strategy introduced just last year.”
The mayors added that there is “still time to prevent this”, calling for funding to be maintained “in a form which will allow a more managed transition into a new ‘post-pandemic’ bus network”.
Liam James15 August 2022 11:17
You can’t join a picket line when running a country, says Starmer
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said ministers cannot join picket lines, as he reiterated his opposition to shadow cabinet members standing with striking workers.
Asked about low-paid lawyers who withdrew their labour in a fight for higher wages, he told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “I understand their concerns, I absolutely support the right to strike. The point I’ve been making throughout the summer on this is, that I want the Labour Party not to be in opposition but to be in government.
“Because the single most significant thing we could do for everybody who is struggling to make ends met, whether they’re on strike or not, the single most important thing we could do, is to have a Labour government and if you’re in government your job is to resolve issues, to get around the table, whether it’s rail strikes or any other sort of strikes, get people round the table, resolve the issues and you can’t be in government around the cabinet table and then go to a picket line.”
The Labour leader has been criticised by many in his party for his stance on supporting strikers, with some of his frontbench ignoring his views on joining picket lines.
Liam James15 August 2022 10:59
Watch: Boris Johnson spotted shopping in supermarket during Greek holiday
Boris Johnson has been spotted shopping for groceries in Greece on his second summer holiday in two weeks.
Labour accused the prime minister of treating his final weeks in office as “one big party” as he spends more time away from Downing Street during a deepening cost of living crisis.
Greek news websites reported that Johnson 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.
The prime minister returned from a holiday in Slovenia only last week, having enjoyed a break at a mountain resort which offered “healing energies”.
Boris Johnson spotted shopping in supermarket during Greek holiday
Liam James15 August 2022 10:40
Watch: Keir Starmer describes his proposals to freeze energy price cap
The Labour leader appeared on the BBC this morning to explain his plan for an energy price cap freeze.
Liam James15 August 2022 10:26
Keir Starmer insists energy plan has ‘double benefit’ as he defends holiday during cost of living crisis
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has insisted his energy price freeze will have the “double benefit” of curbing inflation as he defended his decision to go on holiday during the cost of living crisis (Kate Devlin writes).
The Labour leader also accused the Conservatives of “walking past” the problem while they focus on electing a new leader.
Sir Keir has vowed his party “wouldn’t let people pay a penny more” on their gas and electricity bills this winter.
Under the plans Labour would halt price rises in October and January, saving the typical family £1,000 it says.
The “fully-funded” proposals would cost £29bn and be paid for partly by expanding the windfall tax imposed on oil and gas giants and backdating it to earlier this year.
Accuses Tories of ‘walking past’ the problem
Liam James15 August 2022 10:17
Schools ‘considering three day week’ due to soaring energy bills and rising teacher salaries
Schools are reportedly considering three or four-day weeks to manage soaring energy bills and teacher pay rises (Zoe Tidman writes).
Headteachers and academy trust leaders are having to think of ways to save costs as budgets come under increased pressure.
Schools are grappling with rocketing inflation and budget increases failing to keep up with soaring rates, which could surpass 15 per cent next year.
Teachers have also warned schools were on the brink of a “full-blown crisis” by having to foot the bill for the recent pay increase for teachers, as well as rising energy bills.
Trust leader reportedly says shorter school days ‘will become reality’
Liam James15 August 2022 10:07