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Government minister tells struggling families to just ‘buy value brands’

George Eustice said families will be able to ‘contain and manage’ their household budget by only buying value products

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Gary Oakley / Twitter & Sky News

A government minister has told families to consider buying ‘value products’ if they are struggling with the cost of living crisis.

As inflation soars to its highest level in decades, Environment Secretary George Eustice has said that by going for cheaper ‘value’ goods, families can ‘contain and manage their household budget’.

Eustice made the comments during an interview with Sky News, when he was asked what his advice was to people who want a Sunday roast with a chicken but cannot afford it. 

He replied: “Generally speaking, what people find is by going for some of the value brands rather than own-branded products – they can actually contain and manage their household budget.

“It will undoubtedly put a pressure on household budgets and, of course, it comes on top of those high gas prices as well.”

He did admit that budgeting becomes harder on things like chicken and poultry, with him pointing out that increased feed costs end up getting passed through the system because ‘these people work on wafer-thin margins and they have to pass that cost through’.

Read More: Rishi Sunak says it would be ‘silly’ to give families more support with energy bills

Eustice also weighed in on elderly people riding on buses to stay warm, an issue highlighted by Good Morning Britain during their interview with the Prime Minister yesterday morning.

While Boris Johnson was unable to offer a solution after hearing of seventy-seven year old Elsie using her bus pass to stay out of her home for as long as possible, Eustice said those in a similar predicament should speak to their local authority.

He said: “My advice to her would be to go to the local authority and try to get some support from the Household Support Fund, it’s what it’s there for.”

Eustice’s appearance this morning has been met with a wave of backlash, with one MP saying it highhlights just how the Conservatives are living in a ‘parallel universe’ to the British public.

Lib Dem MP Wendy Chamberlain said: “These comments show George Eustice and the Conservatives are living in a parallel universe. Families and pensioners who can’t afford their weekly shop need more help, not patronising advice from a clueless minister.”

This comes just one day after Boris Johnson admitted his government was not doing enough to help people with the cost of living crisis, which has seen the average household energy bill increase by £693 per year.

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Huge protests taking place in Manchester and UK this weekend over soaring cost of living

Thousands of people are set to protest the government’s response to the cost of living crisis

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Thousands of people are set to take to the streets across the UK this weekend in protest of the soaring cost of living.

Enough is Enough – a campaign group calling for the government to take action against the ongoing cost of living crisis – has so far organised rallies in fifty different towns and cities across the country for this Saturday (October 1st).

Manchester is one of the cities involved in the mass protests, with a rally due to begin at 12pm at Piccadilly Gardens. 

Other locations also staging protests include Leeds, Birmingham, Newcastle, Ellesmere Port, Preston and Sheffield. 

The campaign wrote on its official Instagram account: “It’s time to say #EnoughlsEnough.

“No to handouts for the rich and hardship for the rest. This Saturday, October 1st, we’ll be protesting in 50 cities and towns across Britain.

“Main protests on listed graphic but dozens more on the website. Join the campaign today to find out about your local event.”

Enough Is Enough was established by trade union and community organisation leaders over the summer in a bid to ‘push back against the misery forced on millions by rising bills, low wages, food poverty, shoddy housing and a society run only for a wealthy elite’. 

The campaign has five demands:

  • A real pay rise.
  • Slash energy bills.
  • End food poverty.
  • Decent homes for all.
  • Tax the rich.

Back in August, Mayor Andy Burnham threw his support behind the movement, with him attending a protest in Manchester on August 30th.

Speaking to Channel 4 news outside of Manchester Cathedral ahead of the rally, Burnham said: “I go round this city all the time. People are scared. They don’t know how they’re going to get through.

“People’s resilience is already low. Their mental health is low. How are people going to get through?”

Visit the Enough Is Enough website for more information on the movement and any protests happening near you. 

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All primary school kids to get free breakfast as part of Labour’s childcare plan

Labour hopes to fund the plan by reversing Kwasi Kwarteng’s abolition of the 45p higher tax rate

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Crieff Primary School & Greggs Foundation

All primary school pupils will receive free breakfast under Labour’s newly unveiled childcare plan. 

Shadow Education Secretary Bridget Phillipson will announce the plan at the Labour conference in Liverpool today, where she will reveal that all children regardless of wealth would get a free morning meal. 

Currently, schools are only eligible for free breakfasts if 40% of their pupils come from poorer families. 

Labour say the plan would cost roughly £365million, and would be funded by reversing Kwasi Kwarteng’s abolition of the 45p higher tax rate.

The reintroduction of the tax rate would bring in an estimated £2billion, with the remaining cash to go towards a recruitment drive of NHS doctors, nurses and midwives.

Phillipson also hopes the pledge will reduce childcare costs for parents who need to start work early. 

She will say at the conference today: “Labour will build a modern childcare system. One that supports families from the end of parental leave through to the end of primary school. 

“As the first step on that road, we will introduce breakfast clubs for every primary school child in England, driving up standards in maths, reading, and writing, and giving mams and dads choices.”

The Association of School and College Leaders said of the plan: “Not only is this important in terms of wellbeing, but it is also educationally important as pupils are not in a fit state to learn if they are hungry.”

Research by KidsHealth.org showed that high protein and fibre-rich breakfasts help to boost children’s attention span, concentration and memory, all of which are essential for good performance at school.

By reducing the stress of the morning routine for families and children, breakfast clubs can also help to improve behaviour and attendance. 

Sam Bailey, the headteacher of the Forest Academy in Barnsley, said after the launch of their own free breakfast club: “Pupil behaviour has improved dramatically and attitudes to learning are the best they have ever been.”

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Manchester ruled out of hosting Eurovision 2023

BREAKING: The decision now lays between two northern cities

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Manchester has been ruled out of hosting the Eurovision song contest for 2023 as the shortlist for cities is cut from seven to two.

The BBC has announced today that Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Newcastle and Sheffield have been axed from the shortlist of wannabe hosts for the competition.

This leaves Liverpool and Glasgow as the last standing contenders.

The BBC said the two remaining cities, which both have riverside arena venues, had ‘the strongest overall offer’.

A final decision will be made ‘within weeks’, the broadcaster added.

If Liverpool is selected as the host, the competition would be staged at the 11,000-capacity dockside M&S Bank Arena, which is next to a conference centre and near the city centre’s hotels and rail links.

In Glasgow, alternatively, the 14,300-capacity OVO Hydro venue would play home to Eurovision.

Liverpool and Glasgow will be scored on a set of criteria, the BBC said, including:

  • “Having a suitable venue and sufficient space to deliver the requirements of the Song Contest.
  • “The commitment that can be made by a city or region to hosting the event, including the financial contribution.
  • “The strength of the cultural offer which includes off screen local and regional activity as well as showcasing Ukrainian culture and music.
  • “And alignment with the BBC’s strategic priorities as a public service broadcaster, such as providing value to all audiences and supporting the creative economy in the UK.”

It was announced last month that the UK would host the annual song contest for the first time in twenty-four years after organisers decided it could not go ahead in Ukraine – who won this year’s competition – due to the ongoing conflict with Russia.

The UK came in second place thanks to Sam Ryder’s smash-hit ‘Spaceman’, prompting the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) to open talks with the BBC.

A statement from BBC director general Tim Davie read: “It is a matter of great regret that our colleagues and friends in Ukraine are not able to host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest.

“Being asked to host the largest and most complex music competition in the world is a great privilege. The BBC is committed to making the event a true reflection of Ukrainian culture alongside showcasing the diversity of British music and creativity.”

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