Raab grilled by Naga Munchetty over sanctions on Russia
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The BBC Breakfast presenter interviewed Trades Union Congress’ Kate Bell, who explored the effect on households of rising energy prices and the cost of living. Naga Munchetty asked how much more the government can do as the country begins to come out of the pandemic, which led viewers to take to social media to slam her “aggressive” questioning.
Household energy bill increases are expected to rise at least 14 times faster than wages this year.
Kate Bell, head of economics at the TUC, talked about the impact on struggling homes.
“At the moment, families are just going to be getting an extra £120 a year and that’s just not going to cut it,” she explained.
“Even if they increase it by inflation at eight per cent, they’re just going to get £300 a year, again that’s not going to help so they’ve got to do much more than that.
“We’ve also got to tackle some of the causes of this problem, our badly insulated homes.
“We think the Chancellor should be imposing that tax on oil and gas companies and using it to solve the big problem of home insulation which would keep our houses warm much more cheaply.”
“The government have said it recognises the problems people are facing with the cost of living which is why it’s set out, in its words, ‘a generous £21billion package of support’, and includes a £150 council tax rebate from April, a further £200 energy bills discount in October which will be paid back to cut energy bills quickly for the majority of households.
“I mean, how much more can the government do?”
She added: “Or how much more should it spend in your opinion, you’re doing the sums, to help people who are going to struggle with energy bills?”
Kate replied: “Well, I’m afraid that government package just isn’t enough, it just feels stingy – it’s also a loan, which people-“
Naga cut in to point out: “The £200 is a loan, the £150 council tax rebate isn’t.”
“Yeah,” Kate responded. “That £200 is a loan, we’re already seeing energy bills go up by nearly £700 in April and expected to go up further in October.
“I think families struggling are not going to look at what the government’s done so far and think they need to act.”
“How much more though?” Naga asked. “By how much more money, we came out of an economic crisis, we’re coming out of a pandemic, purse strings need to be tightened so what gives?”
Kate argued: “Our economy depends on consumer spending – if people are having to massively cut back that’s going to be a problem.”
Many took to social media to question Naga’s stance on the topic.
Twitter user Tom Drysdale wrote: “Naga really doing the #Government’s job this morning, as she pretty aggressively questions what more financial help they can do to mitigate energy increases! I’ll tell you, Naga! A lot f***ing more than they’re currently doing! #BBCBreakfast.”
Hugh Edwards penned: “Naga trying to defend the govt position in response to the energy crisis.
“Referring to a £200 discount on bills. She didn’t like Kate Bell from the TUC correcting her. It’s a loan not a discount. #bbcbreakfast.”(sic)
@UnInterlocutor commented: “Naga, who I guarantee will not face fuel poverty, on the idea of more help for consumers: ‘but, but how much more can the government spend?’ #BBCBreakfast #energyprices #EnergyCrisis.”
“Naga Munchetty, someone who will never have to tighten her purse strings aggressively defending the government loan telling people that purse strings need to be tightened #bbcbreakfast,” remarked @old_canute.
BBC Breakfast airs daily at 6am on BBC One.
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