Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi has said options to provide additional help to people to ease cost of living pressures will be “ready to go” on 5 September – but said it will be up to the new prime minister to make decisions on the matter.
Speaking to Sky News, Mr Zahawi said either of the two Conservative leadership candidates – Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak – will be able to “hit the ground running” when elected.
But he suggested that Boris Johnson, the outgoing prime minister, will not introduce any new policy to tackle living costs while he remains in post.
“My message to families today is: we will have those options ready to go,” Mr Zahawi said.
“Yesterday I met with the industry to look at what more we can do with the industry on direct debit, on pre-payment meters, all the things that families are worried about, we’re making sure we’re doing the work so on 5 September the new prime minister can hit the ground running and get those things into place.”
Asked if extra direct grants to families this winter are inevitable, Mr Zahawi said: “We’re looking at all the options of what additional help we can deliver for families to get them through the winter – £37bn, we’re midway through that current delivery.”
Yesterday, Mr Johnson doubled down on his insistence that it is for the next prime minister to make financial decisions on the cost of living after talks with energy bosses ended with no new measures to ease the cost of living crisis.
Speaking after the meeting, the prime minister said he would continue to urge the energy sector to ease the financial pressures facing struggling families, but he repeated his stance that it is for his successor in Number 10 to “make significant fiscal decisions.”