Downing Street to reveal cost of living measures in bid to deflect Partygate anger

Warm Homes Discount announcement ‘held back to give prime minister a soft landing’

Sky News reporter shouts at Tory MPs

No 10 is poised to unveil measures aimed at easing the cost of living crisis in order to offset public anger over the Sue Gray Partygate report.

The communications grid — the planning document used by government spin doctors — includes an extension to the warm homes discount.

An announcement on the measure, which could come later this week, is expected to be worth hundreds of pounds to some households.

Ministers believe that publication soon after the release of the Partygate report could help cast a more positive light on the government’s activities.

It was held back in order to give the prime minister a “soft landing”, a Downing Street insider told The Independent.

The intervention is set to come after Jonathan Brearley, chief executive of energy regulator Ofgem, told MPs the price cap would rise from £1,971 to £2,800 a year in October.

The drive to try and reboot Mr Johnson’s premiership comes after the government spending watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) revealed that unemployment benefits are set to fall by £12bn this year after accounting for inflation.

The warm home discount is a one-off payment, aimed at low-income households or pensioners. It is normally delivered as a discount on an energy bill.

The prime minister’s official spokesperson said: “This has been a long-standing challenge both in the UK and globally, so I would refute any suggestion that timings would be used in that way. I’m unable to give you a steer on the possible timeframe, not least because nothing has been decided.”

It was not necessarily the case that the cabinet would have to meet to approve details of any package before it was announced, the spokesperson said, though they noted that ministers did not discuss specific plans at Tuesday’s meeting.

“The information that’s been set out today – albeit indicative – is an important factor in deciding what challenges the public are going to face in October when this rise is due to come in, and therefore helps with planning,” he added.

The combination of fresh analysis from the OBR and the news of the likely sharp increase in energy bills this autumn by Ofgem paint a grim picture for the remainder of the year, according to Trades Union Congress.

General secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Millions of families are already at breaking point. But now they face even more bill hikes, while ministers do nothing to make sure wages and universal credit keep pace.

“The chancellor must provide more help to families now. We need an emergency budget – it’s time to get on with it.”

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