The news comes as the Conservative Party has come under intense scrutiny, rocking the Government to the core following the Downing Street “Partygate” affair. In a topical debate, one MP also took the opportunity to evaluate just how conservative the Tory party is, in particular, when it comes to spending.
Speaking to The Telegraph’s “Off Script” podcast, MP for Wycombe, Steve Baker said: “This technocratic Government must rediscover conservatism to ensure its survival,” in what appeared to be an attack on the Chancellor.
The podcast title suggested that responsibility now lies with the Prime Minister to fix the issue, stating that “if Centrist Boris does not fix the issue, the country will return to the Seventies”.
In fact, the piece goes on to suggest that unless something is done, the very survival of the Conservative Government will be at stake.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in very high levels of public spending.
Current estimates of the cost of Government measures announced so far range from about £315 to £410billion.
This is the equivalent of about £4,700 to £6,100 per person in the UK.
Official figures show that spending in 2020/21 was about £167billion higher than had been planned before the pandemic for that year.
Most of this extra money was spent on public services such as the NHS, support for businesses, and support for individuals.
Some of the largest schemes included the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS, sometimes called the furlough scheme) and NHS Test and Trace.
The spending is only now starting to reveal the consequences.
Prices have gone up at their fastest rate in nearly 30 years – but there is worse to come, experts have warned.
Soaring food costs and the energy bill crisis drove inflation to 5.4 percent in the 12 months to December, up from 5.1 percent the month before, in another blow to struggling families.
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The last time inflation was higher was in March 1992, when it was 7.1 percent.
And with gas and electricity costs set to rise further in the spring, analysts predict it will reach that level again.
Households have seen their energy bills kept in check by the Government’s price cap, which limits the amount suppliers can charge, but this is due to be revised on 1 April.
As a result, fuel bills could increase by another 50 percent in the next few months, the energy industry has said.
Mr Sunak said he understood the pressures people were facing, but the opposition Labour Party said working families faced an impending “triple whammy” of financial pressures.
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The latest figures will increase pressure on the Government, already under fire over tax rises set to take effect in April.
They will also fuel calls for the Bank of England to raise interest rates in a bid to dampen consumer spending and bring inflation closer to its 2 percent target.
Multiple Tory MP’s have expressed concern at the current leadership, in particular Mr Baker who is touted by some sources as a potential replacement for Mr Johnson.
In fact, Mr Baker, speaking of the current situation said: “We did not make Boris Johnson Prime Minister for his meticilous grasp of tedious rules.
“But this is all appalling and the public are rightly furious.”
He added: “At the moment, I’m afraid, it does look like checkmate. Whether he can save himself, we will see.”
Both Mr Johnson and a series of MP’s have stated that they will await the results of the Sue Gray report prior to making a decision as to their next actions.
As for the relationship between the Prime Minister and the Chancellor, many tip Mr Sunak to replace Mr Johnson, should he leave office.