BRITISH chancellor Rishi Sunak has insisted that the state “cannot protect people completely” as he warned the next few months “will be tough”after inflation rate has surged to a 40-year high.
Reacting to Wednesday’s (18) data, he blamed the situation on “global challenges” and noted Britain was not alone in dealing with rocketing prices.
Speaking at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) annual dinner, Sunak said “we have a collective responsibility to help the most vulnerable” and that “we stand ready to do more”.
However, he warned “the economic situation is extremely serious. The next few months will be tough”.
“There is no measure any government could take, no law we could pass, that can make these global forces disappear overnight,” he said.
However, he added that he “cannot pretend” it will be easy to cut costs for families.
Sunak also called on businesses to boost investment and training in order to grow the economy and help ease the cost of living crunch.
“And as I’ve said previously, our firm plan is to reduce and reform your taxes to support you to do all three of those things. That is the path to higher productivity, higher living standards, and a more prosperous and secure future,” Sunak said.
The main opposition Labour party again demanded an emergency budget to help Britons cope with a threat of recession.
“Our country faces a cost-of-living crisis, and a growth crisis,” said Labour finance spokeswoman Rachel Reeves. “We need an emergency budget now to tackle the cost of living crisis, and we need a real plan for growth.”
Labour is urging also a windfall tax on the energy sector, whose revenues have soared on rocketing oil and gas prices owing to supply fears after key producer Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Annual inflation soared to 9 per cent in April from 7 per cent in March, the Office for National Statistics said, delivering another heavy blow to Britons whose wages were already failing to keep pace with surging prices.
April’s headline figure marked the highest inflation rate since 1982, the ONS added.
Britain risks entering recession — or two quarters of economic contraction in a row — with inflation set to top 10 percent this year, the Bank of England has forecast.