The government must have “everyone at the pumps” to tackle the cost of living crisis before the fall, business leaders have warned.
Tony Danker, chief executive of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), has joined former Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s call for swift action to deal with rising energy costs.
But Downing Street has said Boris Johnson has no plans to introduce any major new tax measures before the end of his term as prime minister.
Mr Danker said: “The economic situation that people and businesses are facing requires everyone to be at the pumps this summer.
“We simply cannot afford a summer of government inactivity as the leadership race unfolds, followed by a slow start for a new prime minister and new cabinet.
“The Prime Minister and the Chancellor should take the next few weeks to come to grips with the emerging crisis and the planning needed to deal with it. It will also give their successor – whoever it is – the best chance to get out of the blocks quickly.
He added that the Prime Minister and the candidates vying to replace him – Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss – should “come together to agree on a common commitment to support people and help ease fears”.
The CBI has also called for senior officials to be directed to options projects to help struggling households ahead of the selection of a new prime minister.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said Mr Johnson – who is back at No 10 after his holiday in Slovenia – will speak with Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi to ensure the support measures that were to come into effect force later in the year remained on track.
But the spokesman added that any further action would be up to Mr Johnson’s successor once the Tory leadership race is over.
“The government has recognized that the end of the year will present wider challenges with things like changes to the (energy) price cap,” the spokesperson said.
“That is why, at the beginning of the summer, we implemented a number of measures to help the population. Obviously some of the global pressures have increased since this was announced.
“By convention, it is not up to this Prime Minister to make major budgetary interventions during this period. It will be for a future prime minister.
In response to this, Labour’s shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves said: ‘People are very worried about how they are going to pay their bills and do their weekly groceries, and everything the Tory Prime Minister is doing, c is to shrug his shoulders.
“An economic crisis like this requires strong leadership and urgent action – but instead we have a Conservative party that has lost control and is stuck with two continuity candidates who can only deliver the same thing. .
“Labour would start by scrapping tax breaks for oil and gas producers and provide more help for people struggling to pay their energy bills.”
Writing for the Daily Record newspaper on Monday, former Labor Prime Minister Mr Brown called for ‘urgent action’ to cover further rises in fuel bills amid ‘millions on the edge of a financial precipice”.
Mr Brown added: ‘The current facts are grim: four out of five pensioners, four out of five single parents and four out of five large families face fuel poverty – that’s when their energy bills add up 10% of their weekly consumption. income.
“Around 35 million people in 13.5 million households are at risk of fuel poverty in October – this is an unprecedented figure of 49.6% in the UK.”
He warned that if no action is taken before another price hike in January, the number of people in fuel poverty in the UK could reach 39 million people in 15 million households.
Mr Brown said: ‘Cobra, the UK government’s emergency disaster committee, should be in permanent session to deal with the next fuel and power crisis.
“Even though Boris Johnson has gone on vacation, his deputies should negotiate to buy new supplies of oil and gas from other countries and urgently create the extra storage capacity we currently lack.
“We should persuade homes and buildings – as Germany is doing now – to reduce energy consumption wherever possible in the hope that we can prevent formal rationing.”
He also said Mr Johnson, Mr Sunak and Ms Truss should meet to plan and agree an immediate budget to avoid a ‘winter heating disaster’.
Cobra, or COBR (Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms), is a UK Government civil contingencies committee which meets to discuss matters of national emergency or major disruption.