'Pick sides' Sunak warned to act on cost of living crisis in 'moment of truth' mini-budget

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The Chancellor of the Exchequer has been told by trade unions and businesses his spring economic package will fail to match the urgency of the cost of living crisis. Millions of Brits will soon face a 54 percent rise in the cost of their typical annual gas and electricity bill as the higher price cap takes effect on April 1.

The UK is also expected to see inflation hit 7 percent later this year, the Bank of England has warned.

Mr Sunak is expected to be holding back big measures for his autumn Budget later this year and could be planning to unveil tax cuts before Brits go to the polls in 2024.

However, the MP for Richmond (Yorkshire) appeared to concede he “can’t solve every problem” and warned inflation was “out of my control”.

The Chancellor also suggested he was preparing to offer relief to families and businesses on Sunday.

He said: “Where we can make a difference, of course we will.”

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There is growing speculation the Chancellor could be considering a cut to fuel duty amid concerns about the price at the pump.

A group of around 50 Tory MPs, led by Harlow’s Robert Halfon, had ramped up pressure on Mr Sunak to push ahead with the levy reduction.

Shevaun Haviland, director-general at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), told the Independent the next few weeks are “crunch time” for businesses.

The BCC is also calling for the Government’s 1.25 percent National Insurance increase to be delayed for at least a year.

The regressive tax increase is supposed to help fund the NHS backlog and social care.

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Tearing into the Chancellor, Ms O’Grady said: “We have got a Government that’s in danger of being accused of being all mouth and no trousers.

“It promised a high-wage economy and what we have got is working families under intolerable pressure after years of pay stagnation and cuts to social security.

“Half-measures aren’t going to cut it. The Chancellor is going to have to pick sides.

“Is he for the ordinary people or the oil and gas company profits?”

The Independent has also revealed the Office for Budget Responsibility has been told to recalculate fiscal forecasts to take into account further amendments to Treasury plans.

This move was described by the newspaper as highly unusual.



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