Prime Ministers Questions
PMQs Live – 18/05 – ‘PM should sack chancellor’
That’s it for PMQs
Should people just work more hours to ease financial burden?
Alex Sobel tells PM more and more people are coming to him to raise the issue of the cost of living.
“Things just cost too much,” he says, he then makes reference to comments by Tory Rachel Maclean who suggested people should just work more hours to ease the financial burden.
He asks if the PM agrees with her or if he agrees with Labour who are calling for an emergency budget.
PM says the govt has increased the living wage and put billions into supporting those on universal credit. He adds that low unemployment was giving the UK the foundation to rebuild the economy.
Farming costs are rising, Lib Dem leader says
Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Sir Ed Davey, now asks a question about support for farmers.
British farmers are the best in the world, he says, adding they could play a big part in resolving the cost of living crisis.
But he says their costs are spiralling upwards. Instead of helping Britain’s food producers, the government is slashing the subsidies they reply on, he says.
He asks the PM if he would be willing to meet with him and farmers to discuss helping them.
The PM says he does recognise the challenges that farmers are facing. He says his government is doing what it can, including championing the food export market. – (BBC)
PM should sack chancellor, says Blackford
Blackford goes on to say that the Tory response to the cost of living crisis has been “insults and inaction”.
For weeks he has been briefing that it is the Treasury who is to blame for blocking support, he says, and says if that is the case it is time for the PM to sack the chancellor.
Johnson responds by saying that we have been through Covid and are facing a spike in energy prices due to the invasion of Ukraine.
“Everyone in the country knows we are not through this yet,” he says, but adds the only reason the government can do more is because “we have a strong economy with massively high employment”. – (BBC)
Working from home
Virendra Sharma says the Home Office takes six months to reply to correspondence. But Jacob Rees-Mogg claims there are too many civil servants, and he objects to them working from home.
PM says he thinks people will be more productive if they get back to work.
Dominic Cummings, Johnson’s former chief adviser, had this to say on this subject earlier.
you can only understand the WFH farce if u understand this is an issue the 🛒 gets direct repeated calls from newspaper *proprietors* not just editors: 'It's killing us, tell us what you want in return but you must get commuters back' since April 2020
— Dominic Cummings (@Dominic2306) May 18, 2022
The Guardian’s Jessica Elgot points out that Boris Johnson’s boasting about Crossrail was misplaced.
Just for the record Ken Livingstone got the green light for Crossrail from Gordon Brown (just shows how with long-term infrastructure projects it's always multiple people and parties who have a share of the credit) https://t.co/hWa6vKDsui
— Jessica Elgot (@jessicaelgot) May 18, 2022
Tories punish the poorest – SNP’s Blackford
The SNP’s Ian Blackford says people did not need to see this morning’s official statistics – “they know it because they are living with it”, he says.
He says that under the Tories the “poorest are punished the most”.
Month after month a distracted Downing Street has failed to act, he says, asking if the PM supports his chancellor’s “insulting statement” that acting now in the cost of living emergency would be silly.
Boris Johnson says he supports Rishi Sunak’s work raising the living wage by a record amount, making sure people on Universal Credit pay a £1000 less in tax and creating a strong economic foundation. – (BBC)
PMQs Live – 18/05 – ‘Labour is for the working people’ & Govt will do a U-turn on windfall tax – Starmer
Starmer says Johnson cannot make his mind up. The chairs of Tesco, John Lewis, and the education committee are among those in favour. Who is against it? Jacob Rees-Mogg, going round putting notes on people’s desks “like some overgrown perfect”.
PM says oil companies are already taxed at 40%. The UK needs investment. People are paying high energy prices because Labour did not invest in nuclear. Unemployment is at its lowest level for 50 years, he says.
Stamer says the govt continues to do nothing and people cannot afford to wait.
PM says govt is getting more people into work and that is how to fix the long-term problems with the economy. He says Labour wants to borrow another £30bn which would put more pressure on people with interest rates.
Govt will do a U-turn on windfall tax – Starmer
Starmer says PM does not understand what people are going through. Every day energy companies are raking in £32m in unexpected profits. He says the PM is delaying the “inevitable U-turn” and making life harder for people.
The PM says the govt is already spending £22bn on helping people. It can do this because it took the tough decisions to get people out of lockdown. And taxes are being cut in July, he adds.
He says he will look at all measures to support people.
Starmer says last week Johnson said he would look at the windfall tax. Last night the Tories voted against it. The papers say they are for it. And Johnson now says he is against it. They rule it in, and then rule it out. When will he stop the hokey cokey and back a windfall tax.
PM says Labour always wants to raise taxes for business. In 2019 Starmer backed a manifesto that would have raised business taxes to their highest levels ever. He says they always knew there would be a short-term cost to imposing sanctions on Russia. But giving in would be the greater economic risk.
He says of course the government will look at all the measures needed to get people through to the other side. – (Guardian)
Keir Starmer says a windfall tax would raise billions of pounds to help people with energy bills. Is the PM for it, against it, or is he sitting on the fence like his chancellor.
PM says Starmer could not even define what a woman is. “Heaven help us.” He says Labour love putting up taxes. He wants to “take a sensible approach, governed by the impact on investment and jobs”. He wants to have a strong economy. Unemployment is at its lowest level since 1974, when he was 10 years old. – (Guardian)
Steve McCabe asks what the government is doing to stop people from dying of cold in their homes next winter.
PM says the government has spent £9bn on a package to help people with heating.
Boris Johnson starts by giving his best wishes to Rangers in tonight’s match in Seville.