John Lewis boss urges Government to take ‘decisive action’ on cost-of-living crisis

John Lewis boss calls on the Government to act on cost of living before summer
White said action should be taken even if it means a temporary hit to public finances.
// The Government should act before the summer to tackle the cost of living, the boss of John Lewis has said
// Households have seen soaring energy bills, with inflation forecast to hit 10%

John Lewis Partnership boss Sharon White has called on the government to provide a financial support package to protect families amid the cost-of-living crisis.

White said a support package on the same scale as that provided during Covid-19 is needed.

White called on ministers to take the same “decisive action” and it came after Boris Johnson told ministers to “go faster” in delivering ideas to alleviate the crisis.

Speaking on ITV’s Peston show on Wednesday night White said: “I think the time absolutely has come for action, whether it’s an emergency budget or whether it’s another vehicle,”

White stressed that the government needed to act urgently because families were struggling to pay as the cost of groceries rise and utility bills soar.


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White, the chair of John Lewis Partnership and a former second permanent secretary at the Treasury, said action needed to be taken before summer, with Brits facing another increase in energy bills of as much as £1,000 annually from October.

She said: “The decisive action we saw, I thought the government did incredibly well at the pace and scale during Covid, I think we need to see the same decisive action taken at speed and at pace.”

White added that the UK faced “at least as pressing a challenge with the cost of living crisis” as it did with the pandemic, making the cost to public finances an “imperative”.

“The hit is either going to happen to households, to families, to people on low incomes, or we take a decision that given the scale and everything that’s happening … actually a temporary hit on public finances is worth it.”

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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