DOMINIC Raab has been grilled by MPs over his government’s handling of the energy crisis and the rising cost of living.
Mr Raab, who was standing in for Boris Johnson who is in the US, fielded questions at Prime Minister’s Questions today.
He was told to “go back to his sun lounger” by Labour, and questioned over a lack of an emergency energy payment for poor families by the SNP.
Kirsten Oswald, the SNPs deputy Westminster leader and Angla Rayner, deputy Labour leader, replaced their party leaders for the fiery session.
Ms Oswald challenged Mr Raab on the fuel crisis, and warned that the country was facing a “cost of living tsunami”.
She said: ” Warm words don’t heat homes – and unless these Tory cuts are reversed, we will see even more families pushed into hardship and crisis.
“Yesterday, I met with East Renfrewshire Citizens Advice Bureau – they warned of a cost of living Tsunami hammering families.
“A Universal Credit cut, Tory tax hikes, soaring household bills…Because of this government’s choices people are having to choose between heating their homes or feeding their families.”
She said the Conservatives “can’t ‘level up’ by making people poorer” and asked Mr Raab “why he’s stubbornly refusing to introduce an emergency energy payment that would help families through another difficult winter?”
The deputy PM replied: “The price cap in place will save 15million households up to £100 pounds each year.
“On top of that, because of the approach we’ve taken with the national living wage, full time workers will be £4000 per year better off.”
He also claimed that many of the issues Ms Oswald rasied were “devolved” and added that Scots would expect politicians to “come togther”.
He added that the SNP should “stop this scaremongering and stop the sowing of division.”
Angela Rayner told Mr Raab to “go back to his sun lounger and let me take over” during her questions, and chided the former Foreign Secretaryabout the cost of his luxury holiday in Crete this summer.
She asked how much a low-wage worker would have to work to be able to afford one night in the plush resort, and accused the Government of hitting the pockets of working families by “cutting the income of a worker on £18,000 a year by over £1,100” with tax rises.
Ms Rayner said: “That is almost exactly the same as an average annual energy bill. Just as energy prices are ballooning they have chosen to take the money that could cover a year’s worth of bills out of the pockets of working people.
“The Deputy Prime Minister has said the solution is for people to work harder. So, can he tell us how many days a worker on the minimum wage would have to work this year in order to afford a night at a luxury hotel, say in Crete?”
The deputy PM replied: “If she wants to talk about taxes and easing the burden on the lowest paid, I’ll remind her whenever a Labour Party has gone into Government unemployment has soared, the economy has nosedived and taxes have gone through the roof.
“Under this Government we cut income tax, saving every worker £1,200 each year, we have introduced and extended the national living wage so full-time workers are £4,000 better off each year, we have doubled the free childcare for working parents worth up to £5,000 for every child every year. When Labour takes office, unemployment goes up and the economy goes down.”
Ms Rayner hit back, saying: ” The truth is they were warned about the problems we face and the energy crisis we face – and there we have it, absolutely nothing to help the people up and down the country who are working themselves into the ground and still struggling to make ends meet.”
She said the Conservatives do “not care about working people” before adding: “Families across the country are worried about heating their homes while he’s complaining about having to share his 115-room taxpayer-funded mansion with the Foreign Secretary – the truth hurts, doesn’t it? – just as his Government are making choices that are making working families’ lives harder.
“A typical family is facing a tough winter this year: Universal Credit down a thousand quid; rent up 150 quid; gas bills up 150 quid; taxes up and food prices are soaring. Working people will have to choose whether to feed their kids or heat their homes.
“The choice for the Deputy Prime Minister is will he make their lives easier or harder? So what will he choose – will the Government cancel the Universal Credit cut?”
Mr Raab replied: “She should check her facts as Chevening is funded by a charity, not a penny of taxpayers’ money.
“Let me also tell her the most disastrous thing for energy bills of hard-working people across the country would be to follow Labour’s plan to nationalise the energy companies, which the CBI says would cost as much as £2,000 on bills.”