August 14, 2022

Apparently buying value brands can help people ‘manage their household budget’

A day after Boris Johnson’s car crash interview with Susanna Reid where he admitted the government wasn’t doing enough to combat the cost of living crisis but took credit for a pensioner’s misfortune, another Tory MP has proved he’s equally out of touch.

Environment Secretary George Eustice on Wednesday urged cash-strapped Brits to buy cheaper products as they deal with soaring household bills as energy prices, national insurance, and food prices increase.

Eustice added insult to injury when he got the name wrong of a struggling pensioner whose story the PM caused outrage over on Good Morning Britain. Johnson was told that 77-year-old Elsie catches the bus to stay warm because she can’t afford to heat her home. Rather than offering his sympathies or possible solutions, the PM remarked that he was responsible for the freedom pass that allowed her to do that.

Eustice referred to Elsie as “Elsa”

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Asked what he would say to Elsie, Eustice told Sky News: “What would my advice be to Elsa (sic)?

“Well, my advice would be that, you know, not to stay on a bus all day to try and stay warm.

“My advice would be to seek some support from the local authority.”

Urging families to buy supermarket brands, Eustice  went on: “We have a very, very competitive retail market with 10 big supermarkets and the four main ones competing very aggressively, particularly on some of the lower-cost, everyday value items for households, so things like spaghetti and ambient products – there’s a lot of competition to keep those prices down.”

He added: “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.”

GMB presenter Susannah Reid told LBC’s Andrew Marr on Tuesday night that she had spoken to Elsie since her interview with Johnson and the pensioner was “disappointed” with what he said.

“Because she says there are people who are even worse off than she is, and there was no answer for them, apart from ‘oh I was the person who was responsible for the bus pass,’ I mean, as if she’s supposed to be grateful,” she said.

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Liberal Democrat work and pensions spokeswoman Wendy Chamberlain told Sky News Eustice’s comments showed “the Conservatives are living in a parallel universe”.

She added: “Families and pensioners who can’t afford their weekly shop need more help, not patronising advice from a clueless minister.”

Shadow Treasury Chief Secretary Pat McFadden fumed that Eustice had failed to tackle the cost of living crisis saying, “this is woefully out of touch from a Government with no solution to the cost-of-living crisis facing working people”, the Mirror reported.

He added: “People are seeing their wages fall, fuel and food costs rise, and families are worried about how to make ends meet.

“It’s time for the Government to get real help to people rather than comments that simply expose how little they understand about the real struggles people are facing to pay their bills.”

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