Government needs to do more on cost-of-living crisis, senior Leeds Tory says

The government needs to do more to help people through the cost-of-living, one of Leeds’ most senior Tories has said.

By David Spereall
Friday, 29th July 2022, 4:45 am

Alan Lamb, who is the deputy of leader of the city council’s Conservative group, predicted more financial support would be given to people grappling with spiralling household bills.

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But he called for “immediate” action as European gas prices soared again on Wednesday.

Alan Lamb, who is the deputy of leader of the city council’s Conservative group, predicted more financial support would be given to people grappling with spiralling household bills. Picture: Leeds city council.

Experts now warn the knock-on effect on family finances will be even worse this winter than previously thought.

Speaking at a meeting of Leeds City Council’s executive board on Wednesday, Coun Lamb said: “From my perspective – others may disagree – the government have done a lot on this already.

“Can they do more? Yes I think they could. Should they do more? Yes I think they should.

“I think there will be more to come.”

Coun Lamb said that “in the unlikely event” of either Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss “listening to the likes of me, hopefully they’ll take that on board.”

Mr Sunak and Miss Truss are both competing to win the Conservative party leadership and become Prime Minister.

Coun Lamb, who represents Leeds’ Wetherby ward, added: “I think they should be doing more immediately. With energy prices going up the crisis will get worse before it gets better.”

A report published by the city council on Wednesday outlined the extensive support it’s offering to those beneath the breadline, including help paying and its free confidential welfare advice unit.

But the report said more government intervention was needed, as local resources don’t stretch far enough to help everyone who is struggling.

The council’s Labour leader, James Lewis said some households were using the welfare system for the first time, having never needed it before.

He suggested the pandemic would be a useful reference point for the government, with support schemes like furlough and paying workers to self-isolate having been successful during lockdown.

CouA Lewis said: “I think the importance of looking back at what we did during Covid comes into this.

“There were people who were very self-ufficient until the point something happened and they needed our support.

“We’ve had lots of conservations with people who thought they were doing OK until they saw their gas and electric bills.”