Boris Johnson has admitted the government has not done enough to alleviate the impact of the cost of living crisis for families and vulnerable people across the UK.
During his first interview with Good Morning Britain in nearly five years, the Prime Minister struggled to defend his party’s policies when grilled on a number of topics, including the situation in Ukraine and the ongoing ‘partygate’ scandal.
However, the main talking point of the tense interview was the ongoing cost of living crisis, which has seen the average household energy bill increase by £693 per year.
Host Susanna Reid, who had travelled to Downing Street to quiz Johnson in person, asked whether he believed he and his party were doing enough to help the British public with the rising costs, pointing out his refusal to impose a windfall tax on energy company profits, which are currently in their billions.
Reid explained: “It doesn’t help people right now who are paying their energy bills – which have gone up hundreds – to be told we need to leave that money to the energy companies, because they need to invest.
“That’s their job. Your job is to help people pay your bills.”
At this, Johnson replied: What we’re doing is helping people with the cost of energy… I accept that those contributions from the taxpayer aren’t going to be enough immediately to help cover everybody’s cost.
“Of course that isn’t going to be enough immediately to help cover everybody’s cost.”
And when asked by Reid if he would acknowledge that he is not doing everything he can do, Johnson admitted: “There is more that we can do. The crucial thing is to make sure we deal with the prices over the medium and long term.”
Reid then told Johnson about Elise, a seventy-seven year old GMB viewer who has cut down her spending by restricting herself to one meal a day, buying yellow sticker discounted items in the supermarket and riding the bus for as long as she can to stay out of the house.
At this, however, Johnson saw the opportunity to redeem himself by pointing out that Elise is able to ride the bus for free thanks to his Freedom pass scheme that allowed people over the age of sixty to use London buses for free.
He said: “I just want to remind you, the twenty-four hour freedom bus pass was something I introduced.”
Susanna replied: “Oh marvelous, so Elsie should be grateful to you for her bus pass?”
And despite stressing that he doesn’t want people like Elise to cut back on their spending, Johnson failed to articulate what further help could be offered in the future.
The government has faced intense criticism for how it has offered to help Brits cope with the cost of living crisis, including a £150 council tax rebate and a £200 energy bill discount, which will then have to be paid back over five annual £40 payments.
And while many experts believe the answer lays in a windfall tax on major energy firms, the government has so far refused to impose such a tax in order to ensure ‘future investments in British energy’.
According to The Guardian, BP’s profits more than doubled to £5bn in the first three months of the year – the highest quarterly profit in more than a decade – helped by soaring oil and gas prices.
Boy, 14, guilty of murdering 12-year-old Ava White after Snapchat video row
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A boy has been found guilty of stabbing Ava White to death in Liverpool.
The 14-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was found guilty of murdering Ava, 12, at court today.
The incident happened following a row over a Snapchat video, with the court hearing that a ‘chance encounter’ with the 14-year-old boy led to her tragic death.
Ava was stabbed in the neck at Liverpool’s Christmas lights switch-on last November, after asking a group of boys to stop filming her and friends, Sky News reports.
A jury was told that the defendant then laughed and ran away following the attack, although the boy claimed he had acted in self-defence and denied murder.
However, he was found guilty after the two-week trial at Liverpool Crown Court.
Family members were left in tears in court after a 20-second clip showing the stabbing – which happened on November 25th – was played.
The boy, who was found to have a 7.5cm flick blade, previously pleaded guilty to possessing an offensive weapon.
Ava and several of her friends, who were all aged between 11 and 15, shared some alcohol together near the Royal Court Theatre in Liverpool city centre when the boy and his friends saw them and filmed a video for Snapchat.
Prosecutor Charlotte Newell QC said Ava asked them to stop filming before the boys started ‘jeering’ at her – she then ran towards them before the defendant ‘thrust a knife into the neck of this unarmed child’.
She told the court: “His reaction at the time was to smirk, to laugh and to run away, leaving Ava to die whilst he sought to distance himself from his actions.”
Ava’s last words were ‘don’t leave me’, as she lay dying on the ground.
The court heard that the boy ‘began a conscious cover-up’ after the incident, attempting to discard his knife, phone and coat.
When arrested he told a ‘series of lies’ about his movements at the time of the killing, the jury was told, saying he was playing Call of Duty at a mate’s house, before saying another boy had stabbed Ava.
While giving evidence, the 14-year-old claimed he was ‘scared’ Ava was going to ‘jump him’, and that he was only trying to ‘frighten her away’ because he was ‘scared’ – telling court he thought Ava was a boy and might have had ‘a weapon’.
Kurt Zouma charged with three offences over cat kicking videos
The footballer was filmed abusing his cat at the start of this year
Kurt Zouma has been charged with three offences under the Animal Welfare Act after he was filmed kicking his pet cat.
The charges are in relation to the now-infamous videos that showed the West Ham footballer abusing the cat.
Kurt is accused of two counts of causing ‘unnecessary suffering’ to the cat by kicking it in the abdomen and slapping it in the head.
He is also charged with failing to protect the cat from ‘pain suffering, injury or disease’.
His brother and fellow footballer Yoan has also been charged for his involvement in the incident, which he filmed and posted onto Snapchat.
Yoan is accused of two counts of ‘aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring’ Kurt to commit the offence of causing unnecessary suffering to the cat.
The brothers are set to appear at Thames Magistrates’ Court tomorrow (May 24th) for a preliminary hearing following a joint investigation from the RSPCA and Essex Police.
After the video started circulating on social media in February, the RSPCA removed two cats from Kurt’s home and began liaising with Essex Police about the incident.
In a statement at the time of the video’s circulation, the RSPCA said: “The two cats are now in RSPCA care. Our priority is and has always been the wellbeing of these cats.
“They’ve been taken for a check-up at a vets and then will remain in our care while the investigation continues.
“We’re grateful to everyone who expressed their concern for these cats. We were dealing with this issue before the video went viral online and are leading the investigation.
“We continue to investigate so we cannot comment further at this time.”
Sue Gray report set to be ‘published in full next week’ as partygate investigation ends
The police announced the end of their investigation today
The long-awaited Sue Gray report into Downing Street misconduct during the Covid pandemic is due to be published in full next week as the police’s investigation concludes.
The report – which investigated a series of alleged breaches of Covid lockdown in 10 Downing Street and Whitehall – was completed in January, but the publication of the full document was delayed at the request of the Metropolitan Police as they completed their own investigation.
But today, the police announced their inquiry into Downing Street lockdown breaches has come to an end, meaning Gray’s report could be published as soon as next week.
A source close to Gray and her team said she now intends to publish her report ‘as soon as possible’, adding that it could come as early as next week, according to The Independent.
The shortened version of Gray’s report noted that there was a ‘serious failure to observe not just the high standards expected of those working at the heart of Government, but also of the standards expected of the entire British population at the time’.
Gray also stated that because the Government was asking citizens to accept far-reaching restrictions on their lives, some of the behaviour surrounding these gatherings is ‘difficult to justify’.
Stand-out points from the report include:
- There were failures of leadership and judgment by different parts of No 10 and the Cabinet Office at different times.
- The excessive consumption of alcohol is not appropriate in a professional workplace at any time.
- The use of the garden at No 10 Downing Street should be primarily for the Prime Minister and the private residents of No 10 and No 11 Downing Street.
- The leadership structures are fragmented and complicated and this has sometimes led to the blurring of lines of accountability.
- Some staff wanted to raise concerns about behaviours they witnessed at work but at times felt unable to do so.
The police’s investigation resulted in a total of 126 fines, known as Fixed Penalty Notices, being issued for events across eight different dates.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak were both fined for their involvement in parties and events held during the lockdowns.
Twenty-eight people have been issued with more than one fine, the force added.