Sunak to meet with Conservative MPs to avoid cost of living turmoil | Rishi sunak

Rishi Sunak will try to quell growing Tories’ unrest over cost of living as MPs delegations urge him to reverse a planned tax hike and drop VAT on energy bills in exchange for it. savings on the fight against the pandemic.

The Chancellor will summon MPs for several evening summits this week as tensions rise over pressures facing households from April, with an expected 1.25 percentage point increase in employee national insurance contributions (NIC) and a surge in energy bills once the price cap is revised.

Labor hopes to put pressure on Sunak and Boris Johnson on Tuesday with a binding vote in parliament to cut VAT on home energy bills.

The motion, introduced by Labor during its opposition day debate, guarantees parliamentary time for a bill to enact the cut, a device that means Tory MPs must actively oppose it rather than to abstain.

There are many demands from MPs, but the VAT cut, which Sunak and Johnson previously ruled out in favor of more targeted action, is enjoying “the most widespread support,” according to a veteran Tory.

“It doesn’t hurt that this is something we can do now because of Brexit,” said another high-ranking Tory connected to several key parliamentary lobby groups.

Many are expected to urge the Chancellor to go further and delay the NIC hike from April, which is expected to bring in £ 12bn which Sunak wants to use to reduce NHS waiting lists and fund the new protection system medium-term social.

David Jones, a former Brexit minister, said the pressure on many households would be immense from April.

“Raising this tax at the same time as the cap is removed from energy prices is very difficult. That’s an increase of a few thousand pounds for many families, ”he said.

A backbench MP John Redwood warned Sunak on Monday that his own ambitions depended on his standing within the party on these issues.

“Those who advise that Mr. Sunak should be the next prime minister should tell him that imposing an avalanche of unpopular and reckless tax hikes will undermine that ambition,” he tweeted.

Another MP said he would urge Sunak to drop the increase and focus on saving money on pandemic-related spending, including NHS testing and traceability. “I’m going to urge him to reduce the increase in NICs – £ 12bn, that’s not a lot of money compared to Covid’s current spending. There is a lot of support in the parliamentary party for this.

While not all MPs said they would support revoking the NIC hike, a minister warned that left Sunak exposed.

“The party hates the rise of the NICs. Sunak himself would not have done so except to stave off other spending demands with warnings of further tax hikes. So it’s no wonder he’s under pressure to give it up when there is a hook to do so. The Chancellor must realize that the party and the country are just not where it is when it comes to taxes and spending. “

Johnson said he discussed cost-of-living pressures with Sunak on Sunday evening. “I understand how difficult it is for people, I understand the pressures people face on household finances,” he said on Monday.

“It makes life very hard. And we need to make sure people are aware of all they can do – all the money we’re investing through local councils to help those in trouble, the cold weather payments, the hot house rebate. , the money for retirees.

Cabinet ministers have all but rejected a one-off tax on North Sea oil and gas profits proposed by Labor. Members said it was less of a priority. “Most colleagues think this is counterproductive at a time when we want to encourage foreign investment,” said a former minister.

Johnson’s spokesman said a one-off tax had “not been ruled out” but again hinted that a targeted approach would be taken. “We want an approach that helps those who need it most,” the spokesperson said.

Communities Secretary Michael Gove stressed that the new support measures are likely to target the most vulnerable. “I think the prudent and responsible thing to do is to recognize that we have to take a balanced approach, and a balanced approach means that when we can provide support, we do more to help those who find themselves in the most difficult circumstances,” did he declare. News from the sky.

Ministers have reportedly discussed extending the hot house rebate on the bills of the most vulnerable, but Conservative MPs argue it does not help households enough.

Treasury sources said they were reluctant to increase the tax burden on the oil and gas sector, pointing to additional taxes on the rate of oil and gas extraction and tax rates on profits more than double the other companies.

Labor slammed Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi, who told LBC that “the oil and gas companies … are already in trouble”, although the companies are supposed to report “almost record” revenues in 2021-2022.

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