Boris Johnson buys himself time with cost-of-living package

Boris Johnson began investigating cabinet meetings in the week of a political “reset”, noting that most of his ministers were too young to remember Britain’s economic pain in the 1970s.

Johnson He said he was determined to avoid a repeat of the decade of stagflation and high unemployment — but his comments were a reminder that he was plotting a comeback of an economic storm.

While the bar for success – in the words of this week’s Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer – has been set “below the belly of a snake”, he emerged from a decisive week with Not as volatile as many expected.

Johnson’s allies relieved as “only” four other Tory MPs initially called for PM to resign Sugrey Damn Account Drinking culture and pandemic lawlessness in Downing Street, despite an increase in criticism over the course of Friday.

a snapshot YouGov poll It was found that 59% thought the prime minister should resign, while only 30% thought he should stay in office. But one former cabinet member said: “He will never resign.”

At the same time, the principal Rishi Sunak’s £15bn rescue package For families struggling with rising energy bills – funded by an energy windfall tax that Johnson once vehemently opposed – has given the prime minister some breathing space.

“You don’t need a focus group to tell you it’s going to land well,” said one of Johnson’s allies. “It’s a great example of correct, mature politics.”

The Resolution Foundation think tank said measures to tackle rising energy bills were “well-targeted” and now “very progressive”; Sunak belatedly spoke of the real pain facing the poorest in society.

The £400 grant to all families shows he has not forgotten wealthy Conservative voters, some of whom – like Sunak – own more than one home and will enjoy multiple payments. Sunak said he would donate his money to charity.

Johnson initially opposed a windfall tax plan originally proposed by the opposition Labour Party, arguing he would incur a lot of political pain – especially from right-wing Conservative MPs – to secure just £2bn in extra revenue.

Commerce Minister Quasi Kwaten, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Cabinet Office Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg, among others, believe the chancellor should cut taxes, not raise them.

Only if Sunak assures the prime minister that the windfall profits tax on North Sea oil and gas companies can raise £5bn this year – and that he can extract another £3-4bn from the “extraordinary profits” of generators – Johnson endorsed the plan.

“The gains have to be worth the pain,” said an ally of the prime minister. Sunak now has a lucrative new tax source until December 2025, when his “energy profit tax” expires.

Fiscal details matter because the promise of tax cuts is the best hope of Johnson and Sunak’s restless Conservative MPs and offers voters a brighter future at the next election, expected in 2024.

Sunak argued on Friday that raising money from energy companies was a “pragmatic” way to finance at least part of his £15bn spending plan while having a “minimal” impact on inflation.

The chancellor has added a £30bn election-year “headroom” to his figures: he still has room to meet his fiscal rules and has shown he is reining in borrowing.

Conservative MPs are now looking at the war money and will put intense pressure on Sunak to use the autumn budget to start cutting income taxes.

However, the well-received energy package has partly repaired a reputation-damaged chancellor who may want to deliver on his promise but fears the danger of fuelling inflation.

Meanwhile, he said on Friday he was ready to spend more to help people further if the cost of living crunch deepened. “I’ve always been prepared for what’s going on on the ground, what’s going on with the economy,” he said.

However, Johnson’s political breathing space may be short-lived. The Conservatives will seek to defend the seat in two by-elections next month, and voters are likely to judge his recent performance.

Bookmakers put Labour the most likely to win Wakefield’s “red wall” seat, while the Lib Dems could topple the Conservatives’ 24,000-strong majority in the “blue wall” of Tiverton and Honeyton.

“There are a lot of concerns about the prime minister,” said a Conservative MP for Western countries, suggesting that Johnson may have made it through the week, but the jitters about his performance had not gone away.

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