Britons struggling with cost of living should get ‘better job’, says minister

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Britons struggling with the cost of living crisis should consider taking on more hours at work or moving to a better-paid job, a minister in Boris Johnson’s government has said.

Home Office minister Rachel Maclean said the government wanted to see people help themselves in the long-term by boosting their pay – saying they could always use their local job centre.

“Over the long-term we need to have a plan to grow the economy and make sure that people are able to protect themselves better, whether that is by taking on more hours or moving to a better-paid job,” she told Sky News.

Reminded that people were struggling with working “every hour God sends” and still forced to use food banks, Ms Maclean said she was not “suggesting for one moment” that taking on more hours would work for everyone.

The minister said: “One of the obstacles, and it may not be for everybody, is about being able to take on more hours, or even more to a better-paid job.”

Ms Maclean added: “That’s why job centres exist that’s why the work coaches exist – to work with individuals on their own individual situation.

“It may be right for some people, they may be able to access additional hours, but, of course, it is not going to work for people who are already in three jobs.”

Asked what the government was doing for families struggling to get by, Ms Maclean pointed to extra money given to the Hardship Support Fund – saying local authorities were best placed to know how to distribute emergency payments and support.

The minister also rejected the idea of a dedicated minister for the cost of living, saying tackling inflation “is the job for the chancellor and the whole government”.

It come as energy regulator Ofgem proposed that the price cap on household energy bills could be reviewed every three months. The energy regulator said that it might insert two new reviews a year, one in January and another in July.

It would help pass on savings from a potential fall in gas prices to customers more rapidly, Ofgem said, and also protect under-pressure energy suppliers from being damaged by the cap.

“Today’s proposed change would mean the price cap is more reflective of current market prices and any price falls would be delivered more quickly to consumers,” said Ofgem chief executive Jonathan Brearley.

He added: “It would also help energy suppliers better predict how much energy they need to purchase for their customers, reducing the risk of further supplier failures, which ultimately pushes up costs for consumers.

Meanwhile, the NHS prescription charges in England are to be frozen in the latest move by ministers to ease the cost-of-living crisis amid fears the squeeze on family incomes is damaging the Tories.

Health secretary Sajid Javid said the charges – which normally rise in line with inflation – will be held this year to “put money back in people’s pockets”.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said the freeze, which is the first for 12 years, will save patients £17m.

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