Boris Johnson latest news: George Eustice tells struggling families to buy ‘value brands’ to save on food bills

Boris Johnson ‘out of touch’ over cost of living crisis, says Keir Starmer

A Conservative minister has told struggling families that they can cut their household budget and save money by choosing “value brands” over “branded products”.

Environment secretary George Eustice said prices would continue to rise at the supermarket and will “undoubtedly put pressure” on household budgets amid the cost of living crisis.

He said: “Generally speaking, what people find is by going for some sort of value brand rather than own branded products they can actually contain and manage their household budget.”

Speaking to Sky News, the Tory minister also said that household spending on food in the UK is the “lowest in Europe” despite many families having to choose between food and rent.

He insisted that “the price of food doesn’t necessarily cause poverty, but what does is if you have very sharp rises in people’s energy costs”.

His comments come ahead of local elections on Thursday as party leaders are due to visit key battlegrounds today on the last day of political campaigning.

Boris Johnson is expected to visit Hampshire on Wednesday, while Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer will campaign in Wakefield and the Lib Dems’ Sir Ed Davey will visit electorates across the south east.

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Reeves: Durham Police ‘has been clear’ no case for Starmer to answer on ‘beergate’

Durham Police has been “clear” that there is no case for Keir Starmer to answer over alleged claims he broke lockdown rules last year, Rachel Reeves has said.

The shadow chancellor spoke to BBC Breakfast earlier ahead of tomorrow’s local elections.

She said: “The prime minister and the chancellor have been fined by the Metropolitan Police whereas Durham police – where this alleged incident took place – said there’s no case to answer.

“The police have been very clear that in 10 Downing Street rule-breaking did happen and in Durham, Keir Starmer did not break the rules.”

Ms Reeves added: “Boris Johnson has lied and lied again, and then covered up the lies to Parliament about what happened at number 10. There is a world of difference between the rule-breaking and the fines that the Prime Minister and his office have received – compared to what Keir did – which is basically working all day in an office and stopping to have some food and a drink.

“Durham has been clear, there’s no case to answer. It didn’t break the rules and the Tory mudslinging is to try and distract from the rule-breaking at Number 10 but also from the cost-of-living crisis.”

Matt Mathers4 May 2022 09:02

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Starmer: No pact with Lib Dems

Keir Starmer has again rejected claims that his party has entered into a pact with the Liberal Democrats for Thursday’s elections.

The allegation was made by Oliver Dowden, the Tory Party chairman.

The Liberal Democrats are expected to make gains in traditional Conservative heartlands in the south of England.

Speaking to GMB earlier, Labor leader Mr Starmer said: “No, we haven’t and we are actually standing more candidates in this election than any other party… more than we’ve stood for many years. We haven’t got a pact with the Lib Dems.”

He went on to say: “Firstly, I’m afraid I don’t take what Oliver Dowden says very seriously these days, but the fact that a few days before the local elections the only thing he wants to talk about is a Lib Dem /Labour pact rather than the issue which is the cost of living tells you everything about a government that’s absolutely out of ideas and is completely out of touch.”

Matt Mathers04 May 2022 08:46

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Labor leader says he has not been contacted again by the police over alleged lockdown breach

Sir Keir Starmer has said police have not contacted him again after closing an investigation into an alleged breach of lockdown rules.

The Labor leader was asked if he had been questioned by officers since an initial probe after photos showed him having a beer and a takeaway with others last year.

Speaking to Good Morning Britain today, he said of the police: “I think they put out a statement last week saying they’re not reinvestigating and they haven’t spoken to me.”

Describing the incident, he said: “We’re on the road at the end of the day, we’re in the office preparing. Now, that evening, from memory, we were doing an online event for members because we had this get out the vote thing.”

He added: “At some point, this was in the evening, everybody’s hungry and then that takeaway was ordered.

“Restaurants and pubs were closed, so takeaways were really the only way you could eat.

“So, this was brought in and at various points people went through the kitchen, got a plate, had some food to eat and got on with their work.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain4 May 2022 08:33

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Minister tells families struggling to use ‘value brands’ – but insists oil and gas firms pay enough tax

Cabinet minister George Eustice has suggested that struggling families use value brands to save money, but ruled out a windfall levy on oil and gas firms by arguing that fossil fuel giants pay enough tax already.

The environment secretary said prices would continue to rise at the supermarket and will “undoubtedly put pressure” on household budgets amid the cost of living crisis.

Asked what hard-pressed families could do, he told Sky News: “Generally what people find is going for some of the value brands, rather than own-branded products they can actually contain and manage their household budget.”

My colleague Adam Forrest reports:

Maryam Zakir-Hussain4 May 2022 08:25

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Shop prices soar to highest in 11 years due to rising energy costs and Ukraine conflict

Shop prices are up 2.7% on last year marking their highest rate of inflation since September 2011, figures show.

The impact of rising energy prices and the conflict in Ukraine continued to feed through into April’s retail prices, with no sign of them abating, according to the BRC-NielsenIQ Shop Price Index.

British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “Retailers will continue to do all they can to keep prices down and deliver value for their customers by limiting price rises and expanding their value ranges, but this will put pressure on them to find cost-savings elsewhere.

“Unfortunately, customers should brace themselves for further price rises and a bumpy road ahead.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain4 May 2022 08:20

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Minister tells families to manage household budget by buying value brands

Labor MP David Lammy has branded the Conservative party “out of touch” and “unfit to govern” after environment secretary George Eustice said people can manage their household budget by buying “value brands”.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain4 May 2022 08:11

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Labor leader says National Insurance was introduced at the ‘wrong time’

He said he would take stronger action to tackle fraud in the Covid support schemes but would not spell out how he would match the expected extra annual revenue raised by the health and care levy.

On ITV’s Good Morning Britain, he said: “In terms of what we will do going into the next election, obviously, I don’t know what the state of the economy will then be. Nobody knows what the state of the economy will then be.

“We will set out our plans when we get to the election in full, we’ve set out the principles that we will apply, it will be a fair taxation system, particularly for working people.

“At this stage two years out, I don’t know what the state of the economy will be.”

Sir Keir said he “can’t possibly set out in detail what we will do” this far from a general election.

Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer refused to commit to reversing the Government’s hike in national insurance, which he described as the “wrong tax at the wrong time”.

Watch the full clip here:

Maryam Zakir-Hussain4 May 2022 08:05

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Environment secretary rejects calls for a windfall tax on energy companies

Environment secretary George Eustice has insisted that oil and gas companies already paid enough tax “for now” as he rejected calls for a levy on their windfall profits.

He told sky news the situation would be kept under review but “for now we judge that, yes, it is right that these oil companies pay more and they already do pay more – the headline rate of income tax or corporation tax is already 10% higher – overall, with all the other levies and taxes that are in place they pay double the tax that most companies”.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain4 May 2022 07:53

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Environment secretary says pensioner who rides on buses all day to stay warm should ask local council for help

A Cabinet minister has suggested that Elsie – the 77-year-old whose case was raised with the prime minister on Tuesday – should go to her local council for help.

Boris Johnson was challenged in an interview about the case of the pensioner, who rides on buses all day to keep down her bills at home.

Environment Secretary George Eustice told sky news: “What would my advice be to Elsa (sic)?

“Well, my advice would be that, you know, not to stay on a bus all day to try and stay warm.

“My advice would be to seek some support from the local authority.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain04 May 2022 07:44

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Secretary of State says UK household spending on food is ‘lowest in Europe’

Secretary of State George Eustice has said that household spending on food in the UK is the ‘lowest in Europe’ despite many families having to choose between “eating and heating”.

He told sky news this morning: “The reality is that the price of food doesn’t necessarily cause poverty, but what does is if you have very sharp rises in people’s energy costs.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain4 May 2022 07:40

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