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Rishi Sunak faces Tory clamour to act now on cost of living crisis

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theguardian.com

Tory MPs are piling pressure on Rishi Sunak to take decisive action to deal with the cost of living crisis with measures such as cutting VAT, increasing energy bill support and raising benefits, as inflation is forecast to top 9% on Wednesday.A string of Conservatives from across different wings of the party called on the chancellor to intervene within weeks, amid dire economic predictions about the squeeze on households.One senior Tory, Sir Bernard Jenkin, the chair of the liaison committee that holds the prime minister to account, will warn on Wednesday that “the economic situation is far worse than the government is prepared to admit”.He is expected to highlight new figures obtained from the House of Commons library showing pensioners and the lowest income households face paying £1,000 more a year for food and energy, arguing that any help for them cannot “wait until the autumn”.“The measures that need to be looked at are £20 uplift in universal credit, transferring the cost of energy green levies to the exchequer, abolishing VAT on domestic fuel, increasing the warm homes scheme, and increasing the pensioners’ fuel allowance,” he will say.Jenkin also backed the idea of cutting VAT overall as the present inflation and tax increases are “sucking demand out of the economy”.His call for Sunak to take measures to help households were echoed by Stephen Crabb, a Tory MP and former work and pensions secretary, who said he did not “know a single Conservative colleague who isn’t acutely aware of the financial pressures facing their constituents and the need for some easing of the burden”.Writing on ConservativeHome, he warned that “both the scale of the current crisis and the speed of its impact are alarming”.

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