Breadgate: Use your loaf, Rishi Sunak, over cost of living crisis rather than offering crumbs to the poor in Spring Statement – The Yorkshire Post says

RISHI SUNAK can count himself fortunate that money is not an issue for his family as Britons face the biggest slump in living standards since the 1950s. His rural Richmond constituency is also home to many artisan bakeries.

Yet this does not justify his squirming and excruciating response when asked questions about the price of a loaf of bread in the aftermath of his Spring Statement. “We all have different breads in my house,” said the Chancellor.

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Chancellor Rishi Sunak struggled to answer questions about the price of bread following his Spring Statement.

Presumably Mr Sunak did not use his loaf and foresee this legitimate line of questioning because Treasury officials had been under very strict orders to come up with supportive testimonials from ‘stakeholders’ to enhance ‘Brand Rishi’.

An answer that could quickly become as embarrassing as Norman Lamont’s “je ne regrette rien” response to questions about Black Wednesday in 1992, Mr Sunak risks misplacing the public support that he has enjoyed until now.

He has faced two unforeseen crises – Covid and the Ukraine war – that would have daunted each of his predecessors and he genuinely, and sincerely, did his best to support the most vulnerable during the pandemic.

But the decision to withdraw the £20 a week uplift in Universal Credit in his last Budget – and then offer crumbs for pensioners and welfare claimants in the Spring Statement as inflation soars to a 30-year high – was misguided.

Norman Lamont (right) was Chancellor on Black Wednesday during John Major's premiership.

The consequence is low income families facing the most invidious choice of all – eating or heating – with a Chancellor in denial about the cost of living as he peruses his family’s bread basket at breakfast.

And while the prospect of ‘jam tomorrow’, in the form of a 2024 pre-election tax cut, might appease those Tory MPs who appeared to be Mr Sunak’s primary focus on Wednesday, this is no consolation to all those who cannot afford to buy a loaf of bread due to global events beyond their control.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson congratulates Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak after he delivered his Spring Statement in the House of Commons, London.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak struggled to answer questions about the price of bread following his Spring Statement.