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16 May 2022

John Lewis chief urges Government to act on cost of living before summer

John Lewis chief urges Government to act on cost of living before summer

The Government should act before the summer to tackle the cost of living, the boss of John Lewis has said.

Sharon White called on ministers to take the same “decisive action” seen during the coronavirus pandemic amid rising energy prices.

It came after Boris Johnson told ministers to “go faster” in delivering ideas to alleviate the crisis, despite resisting pressure to hold an emergency budget.

Speaking on Peston, which airs at 10.45pm on ITV, Ms White said: “I think the time absolutely has come for action, whether it’s an emergency budget or whether it’s another vehicle.

“As I say, I think we’re all really nervous about what’s going to happen in October, so when energy bills potentially go up again by up to £1,000, it’s winter.”

Asked if she wanted action now, she said: “I do, I think there ought to be action before the summer, so the decisive action that we saw – I thought the Government did incredibly well at pace and scale during Covid – I think we need to see the same decisive action taken at speed and at pace because otherwise… those are impacts across millions of households right across the country.”

Ms White said action should be taken even if it means a temporary hit to public finances.

Households have seen soaring energy bills, with inflation forecast to hit 10% and welfare payments and wages falling behind the increase in prices.

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