Sunak admits he cannot solve ‘every problem’ in face of cost of living crisis

The Chancellor said the Government would help ‘where we can’ in next week’s spring statement.

18 March 2022

The Chancellor has vowed to help the public “where we can” with the cost of living crisis but admitted that the Government cannot “solve every problem”.

With household budgets being squeezed by rising energy bills – exacerbated by Western moves to diverge from Russian oil and gas following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine – soaring petrol prices and an increase in national insurance contributions, Rishi Sunak admitted the situation was “difficult” for Britons.

But he defended the decision to increase national insurance next month to fund clearing the Covid-19 NHS backlog, arguing he was following in Margaret Thatcher’s footsteps by dealing with the deficit after pandemic borrowing reached highs not seen since the Second World War.

Speaking in conversation at the Conservatives’ spring forum in Blackpool, Mr Sunak said it had felt like the UK Government was lurching from “crisis to crisis”, having only been appointed Chancellor a few weeks before the coronavirus lockdown.

Since then, ministers have had to react to fast-paced inflation, retail supply trouble, a fuel crisis and the conflict in Ukraine.

The Chancellor, who is due to give the spring statement on Wednesday, said he would intervene to help workers and families where he could “make a difference” but admitted factors like global inflation were “somewhat out of my control”.

“I have enormous sympathy for what people are going through at the moment and that’s why we will always be there to help make a difference where we can,” said Mr Sunak.

“I can’t solve every problem, no government can solve every problem, particularly when you are grappling with global inflationary forces – they are somewhat out of my control.

“But as you saw a month or so ago when we announced the very significant intervention to help people meet some of the additional costs of energy bills, where we can make a difference, of course I can – I’m always going to do that, we’ve done it over the last two years.”

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