Watch live as Boris Johnson faces PMQs ahead of Rishi Sunak’s mini budget statement
The rate of Consumer Price Index inflation jumped to 6.2 per cent in February, from 5.5 per cent in January, the ONS said on Wednesday morning.
The government has insisted that they will not change the planned rise in National Insurance contributions, but the chancellor could reportedly cut fuel duty to help drivers.
Meanwhile voters overwhelmingly support a windfall tax on North Sea oil and gas companies to support families with mounting energy bills, a new poll for The Independent has found.
A Savanta ComRes survey for The Independent has found that the majority of voters – including among Conservative voters – support scrapping next month’s 1.25 percentage point rise in National Insurance contributions.
A majority also back a cut to fuel duty and the introduction of a £10-an-hour minimum wage. Families are facing a further hit to their finances next month, with the average £700 hike in annual domestic gas and electricity bills due to take affect.
Starmer accuses Boris Johnson of ‘half-a****, blustering waffle’
Sir Keir Starmer asked Boris Johnson how P&O workers “are expected to take a crumb of comfort from [the PM’s] half-a****, blustering waffle today”.
He criticised Mr Johnson for ordering his MPs to abstain on a vote to ban firing and rehiring on Monday. He said that government had “advanced warning” of the P&O’s mass sackings, and accused them of “not lifting a finger to stop it.”
Holly Bancroft23 March 2022 12:22
Boris Johnson says P&O did break law and government ‘will take them to court’ despite Grayling exemption
Speaking at prime minister’s questions, Boris Johnson has said it appeared P&O Ferries had “broken the law” by sacking 800 workers without notice – vowing that the government would “take them to court”.
“It looks to me as though the company has broken the law, and we will be taking action therefore, and we will be encouraging workers to take action,” the prime minister told the Commons at PMQs.
Mr Johnson said the company concerned had a duty to notify the government about the sackings “45 days before they take action of that kind.”
Adam Forrest23 March 2022 12:16
Rishi Sunak had admitted the financial outlook is ‘challenging’ due to soaring inflation
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has told the cabinet that the financial outlook is “challenging” because of soaring inflation and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Downing Street has said.
Mr Sunak provided the update ahead of his Spring Statement at 12:3pm today.
A statement provided by No 10 on Mr Sunak’s briefing said: “The Chancellor provided an update on the economic and fiscal picture, and described the outlook as challenging given the global shocks we are facing as a result of the conflict in Ukraine and rising inflation.
“He said that throughout the pandemic, the Government has shown the British people we are on their side and we will continue to stand by them through the uncertainty that we now face.
“He described how the sensible management of the public finances enabled the Government to step in and help people with £9 billion of support for their energy bills in February.
“He said that this Government would continue to take a responsible and sustainable approach in order to be able to grow a stronger, more secure economy for the future.”
Holly Bancroft23 March 2022 12:14
Boris Johnson: ‘It looks like P&O broke the law and we will take them to court’
Speaking about the P&O sacking scandal, prime minister Boris Johnson has said that it “looks like the company concerned has broken the law.”
He said that “we will take steps to protect all mariners working in UK waters to make sure they are all paid the living wage.”
Mr Johnson promised to take action in the courts, saying: “We will be taking action therefore, and we will be encouraging workers to take action.”
Holly Bancroft23 March 2022 12:11
Breaking: Rishi Sunak told cabinet that the economic outlook was ‘challenging’ – reports
Breaking: Chancellor Rishi Sunak told Cabinet that the economic outlook was “challenging” given the “global shocks we are facing” from the Ukraine war and rising inflation, Downing Street has said.
Holly Bancroft23 March 2022 12:03
Angela Rayner hits out at Rishi Sunak’s promise that ‘work begins tomorrow’
Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner has hit out at Rishi Sunak for promising to bring economic security to people “tomorrow”.
In a social media post from the chancellor last night, Mr Sunak promised to deliver “greater economic security for our people, accelerating growth and productivity.” He added: “That is not the work of any one statement. But that work begins tomorrow.”
Ms Rayner responded: “His Party has governed this country for twelve years. If the work of delivering economic security for Britain only starts today, I can now understand some of the decisions made for the last decade to hammer working people”.
Holly Bancroft23 March 2022 11:59
Boris Johnson heads to prime ministers questions
Holly Bancroft23 March 2022 11:55
Martin Lewis: ‘UK is on the brink of a personal finance precipice’
Founder of MoneySavingExpert, Martin Lewis, has issued a stark warning to chancellor Rishi Sunak ahead of the Spring Statement.
Writing on Twitter, Mr Lewis said: “Dear Rishi Sunak, the UK is on the brink of a personal finance precipice. Today you, only you, have the tools to pull it back. To save lives. To improve living standards. To reduce millions’ anxiety.
“This is what builds a legacy and makes a great Chancellor. Pls seize the chance.”
Holly Bancroft23 March 2022 11:50
Analysis: Chancellor under pressure to intervene as Britons face worsening cost of living squeeze
“Wednesday is a big day for Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, who is set to deliver his spring statement to the Commons. With Britons facing the biggest drop in their living standards since the 1970s amid rising fuel, energy and food costs, the chancellor has in the past few weeks come under intense pressure to intervene to help the country’s poorest families with their bills.
“But if the noises coming from the Treasury in recent days are anything to go by, there will be no Covid pandemic-style financial packages and no blank cheques to help with rising prices exacerbated by Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Sunak has himself warned that government “can’t solve every problem” and any measures announced today – such as a 5p cut to fuel duty, raising the national insurance contributions threshold or a slight cash injection to benefits – will only tinker around the edges of a cost of living squeeze in which families bills are set to rise by hundreds of pounds.”
Read more from Matt Mathers here:
Holly Bancroft23 March 2022 11:40
Sunak could unveil a separate economic plan alongside Spring Statement – Laura Kuenssberg
Rishi Sunak could unveil a “separate economic plan or strategy” alongside his Spring Statement, BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg has said.
She tweeted: “Look carefully, Sunak is holding 2 documents – whispers he’ll unveil a separate economic plan or strategy alongside the statement…”
Holly Bancroft23 March 2022 11:34