'If you are going to live on takeaways that is a very expensive way of feeding your family': Tory MP says Britons in 'depressed areas' need help to budget, learn how to cook and quit £12 a pack cigarettes

Cost-of-living crisis gathering pace after inflation reached a new 40-year highTory MP Robert Goodwill said financial help should be targeted at the poorestHe said helping people quit cigarettes and cook at home could also play a role  

Struggling Britons should get cooking lessons and help quitting smoking to ease the cost-of-living pressure, a Tory MP has insisted.

Sir Robert Goodwill insisted cutting spending on cigarettes and takeaways could play a role in reducing the pain from rampant inflation.

The former minister’s comments came after the headline CPI rate hit a new 40-year-high of 10.1 per cent – with fears it will peak at over 13 per cent later this year when energy bills spike again.

Official figures show wages are already plunging relative to prices at the fastest pace since records began in 2001.

In an interview on Times Radio yesterday, Sir Robert said he was backing Rishi Sunak for Tory leader because he was offering targeted help to those struggling.

He said ‘people have always needed to budget’, but stressed that the government had taken action over many years such as raising the personal allowance to take more people out of tax altogether.

Robert Goodwill insisted cutting spending on cigarettes and takeaways could play a role in reducing the pain from rampant inflation

Robert Goodwill insisted cutting spending on cigarettes and takeaways could play a role in reducing the pain from rampant inflation

The comments came after the headline CPI rate hit a new 40-year-high of 10.1 per cent yesterday

The comments came after the headline CPI rate hit a new 40-year-high of 10.1 per cent yesterday

Official figures released this week show wages excluding bonuses are already plunging relative to prices at the fastest pace since records began in 2001

Official figures released this week show wages excluding bonuses are already plunging relative to prices at the fastest pace since records began in 2001

He said: ‘It isn’t as if we haven’t been doing things to help people. But we absolutely understand how difficult it can be for people making those tough decisions.

‘In many cases there are other factors. A lot of people in the more depressed parts of my constituency often sadly smoke and cigarettes are £12 a packet.

‘And people find it difficult to stop smoking.

‘So there are other ways we can help people – through smoking cessation, helping people budget and also… giving people the skills to make simple, nutritious meals from basic ingredients.

‘Because if you are going to live on takeaways that is a very expensive way of feeding your family.’

He added: ‘That doesn’t put into any doubt how difficult things are.’

The ONS said the latest rise in inflation was driven by the spiralling cost of food, fuel and energy.

The greater than expected figure – the highest since February 1982 – sparked another round of ‘blue-on-blue’ attacks in the Tory leadership race, as well as fresh criticism of the Government and the Bank of England.

Tory peer Lord Rose, chairman of supermarket chain Asda, described the lack of action to combat inflation as ‘horrifying’.

Several experts warned that the Bank would now hike interest rates further – with financial markets expecting them to more than double to 3.75 per cent by spring – heaping more misery on households.

Yesterday’s ONS analysis also warned that inflation was now squeezing lower income households harder than wealthy ones, principally because of the impact of rising food and fuel bills.

Conservative leadership frontrunner Liz Truss yesterday vowed that she would treat rising inflation as an ‘urgent issue’.

‘What I would do immediately is reduce taxes, reversing the National Insurance increases, having a moratorium on the green energy levy to save people money on their fuel bills,’ she said.

But her rival Rishi Sunak insisted he was the only candidate with a credible plan to tackle inflation and blasted: ‘Liz’s plan is to say ‘I believe in tax cuts, not direct support’. I don’t think that’s right because a tax cut for someone on her salary means £1,700 of help.’

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