Boris Johnson admits government ‘could do more’ to help tackle rising bills

Boris Johnson on Tuesday acknowledged that the government “can do much more” to help families grappling with the cost-of-living crisis, but warned that a major new support package risks pushing up inflation. inflation and higher interest rates.

The UK prime minister, speaking two days before local elections in England, Scotland and Wales, said his government must be “cautious” and that rising public spending could lead to an “inflation spiral broadcast”.

Conservative strategists acknowledge that the cost-of-living crisis is by far the biggest issue facing voters ahead of Thursday’s council election and predict that the party will inevitably lose. hundreds of seats.

Labor is hoping to gain control of some councils but is dampening the prospect of big profits, in part because the party has done well when these local government areas were previously contested in 2018 .

Johnson, talk to ITV’s Good morning England For the first time in nearly 5 years, once again apologizes for breaking the law in the partying scandal.

He stressed that the government had made a “huge amount” to help those with rising energy bills, but repeated Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s warning about the dangers of a new wave of major support.

“If we had an inflationary spiral that could be triggered, you would see interest rates go up,” he said, adding that would create “an even bigger problem” and lead to higher mortgage costs.

But he accepts that the £9 billion support package announced by Sunak in his Spring Statement in March “won’t be immediate enough to cover everyone’s costs”. More government support for families is expected in the fall.

The Conservatives and Labor both sought to downplay their prospects in Thursday’s local elections.

Some 200 councils across England, Scotland and Wales are holding elections, with some where all the seats are won and others by as little as a third.

Chris Curtis, head of political polls at market research firm Opinium, said that outside of Scotland, the Conservatives would “almost certainly be in third place” behind the Scottish Nationals and Labor. results in the UK “wouldn’t be so dire for the Tories in terms of seats won and lost”.

He added: “On the headline numbers, I don’t think we are headed for a high number of holes [for the Conservatives] – we are talking significantly less than 500. Labor currently leads the Tories slightly in the polls of voting intention, compared with a difficult result when these seats were last contested in 2018. but that’s still not enough of a change for a dramatic sadness. “

Psephologists Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher say the 2018 local elections represent a “high mark of Labour’s recent performance” in England, Scotland and Wales, adding that the party will struggle for a substantial profit on Thursday.

In one analysis in the Chronicle of Local Government, Rallings and Thrasher say that Labor “would do well to avoid stagnation rather than reap what appears to be rather meager profits when the autopsy takes place. In contrast, for the Conservatives, the less dramatic the results, the more they can claim not to suffer from the traditional ‘midterm blues’.

A Conservative strategist said the party could lose 800 seats across England, Scotland and Wales based on it being a few percentage points behind Labor in national opinion polls.

Another Tory strategist said central London would be “bad” for the party along with “rich commuter belts” around the UK capital, but other areas Britain’s would be “less worse”.

Starmer, who became leader of the Labor Party in April 2020, said the party had “wind in our sails” ahead of Thursday’s election. “We’re in the lead in the polls,” he added. “It’s been remarkable for two years.”

Insiders say they will focus on Thursday’s nationwide vote share and gain gains in old enclaves where the Conservatives have removed constituencies from their party at the general election. election 2019.

A Labor official said the party’s London result in 2018 was “our best result in 50 years and the worst result for the Tories ever”, adding that the hints note that it could strip Wandsworth and Westminster councils from the Conservatives as “an old expectations management trick”.

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