Prime Minister pledges to look after Peterborough people in face of cost of living

Boris Johnson has vowed to look after hard-pressed Peterborough people as the cost of living begins to soar.

Friday, 7th January 2022, 2:02 pm
Prime Minister Boris Johnson visiting the vaccination centre at the Queensgate shopping centre. EMN-220601-185555009

But the Prime Minister is refusing to bow to pressure from some Conservative MPs who are demanding that a planned hike in National Insurance (NI) in April to raise funds for the health service be scrapped.

Concerns are growing that many residents may struggle as inflation - now at 5.1 per cent up from 0.7 per cent a year ago - pushes up the cost of food and clothing while soaring energy prices could see bills increase by 50 per cent in April.

Combined with scheduled tax rises, it has led to worries of a ‘cost of living disaster’ for many people.

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But during a visit to Peterborough on Thursday (January 6) to champion the national Covid-19 vaccination booster campaign, Mr Johnson said: “We do have to face and recognise a cost of living crisis.

“So the Government is making sure it is looking after people who are having a tough time.

“We are putting money into supporting local councils with a £500 million hardship fund, and lifting the Living Wage so every family that is on the Living Wage gets about another £1,000 a year.

“We are changing the taper on Universal Credit so that, for instance, for a single mum with two children gets another £1,000 a year.

“And then for families facing the energy crisis and higher bills, we have cold weather payments for every pensioner, we have a Warm Homes discount of £140 for about 2.2 million people and about four million people get more help with the cost of fuel at about £25 a week.”

Ruling out axing the NI hike to ease the cost of living pressure, Mr Johnson said the NI rise was key to improving the NHS and social care.

He said: “People are also seeing massive pressure on our hospitals and see Omicron ripping through the country very fast.

“In England alone there are 16,000 people in hospital with Covid-19. Hospitals face huge pressures with staff absences because of Covid and I don’t think there is a single family in the land that doesn’t know somebody in the last 18 months who has had hospital treatment delayed because of Covid.

“It will be absolutely unthinkable for a responsible, compassionate Conservative government not to deal with that.

“So you need a backlogs levy - you’ve got to fix the problem and that’s what we are going to do.

“We have to fix the health and social care system and this is the first government in 70 years since the foundation of the NHS that is actually trying to sort it out and help people with their care.

“We want people in Peterborough to have the confidence that they are going to be looked after in their NHS and that they are going to be helped when it comes to leaving hospital and finding the right setting for them to go to.

“This is going to be a fantastic change for people and it will make a huge difference to the way the NHS operates.”