Sarah Champion told Boris Johnson that “every day” she hears from “more and more” of her constituents who are “struggling” to meet basic needs such as food and fuel for their cars.
Ministers are coming under increasing pressure to act on the cost of living, after last week’s Spring Statement was widely criticised for not doing enough to help people who are struggling to pay their bills or afford food.
Mr Johnson said he “agrees” that people are facing problems, but he thinks “the causes are to do with the inflationary impact” of economies reopening across the globe.
Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions this lunchtime, Rotherham MP Ms Champion said: “Every day I hear from more and more of my Rotherham constituents who are struggling to put food on the table, to keep their lights on, to fuel their cars.
“The Office for Budget Responsibility estimates the Government’s measures will only offset falling living standards by a third.
“This is the biggest financial squeeze since the 1950s .
“Prime Minister: don’t blame Ukraine, don’t blame Covid.
“This is down to your Government’s policies and your political choices.”
Ms Champion said before the session that this was only the second time she had been picked to ask a PMQ in her nine years in the Commons.
Responding, Boris Johnson said: “I do agree that people are facing a very tough time at the moment .
“I don’t agree with her analysis, I certainly think the causes are to do with the inflationary impact of the world coming out of Covid and the energy price spike is at the root of it.”
Listing a number of measures the Government has rolled out, such as changes to Universal Credit and an increase in the minimum wage, Mr Johnson added: “Of course we can’t do everything right now and what we will do is ensure that we have a stronger economic performance and people in work.
“The most important thing is that we have people getting into work now in a way that wasn’t possible, and certianly wouldn’t have been possible if we’d stuck to the policies thtt were proposed by the Labour opposition.
“That’s why we have a strong economy, and that’s the best recipe.”