Pressure is building on Rishi Sunak to unveil new plans to help struggling households as he is set to vow to “stand by” British families amid the deepening cost of living crisis.

The Chancellor, who will deliver his spring statement on Wednesday, will link strengthening the UK economy to opposing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Beyond rhetoric on the Kremlin, Mr Sunak will be forced to address a crisis at home – with Labour dubbing him the “high-tax Chancellor” and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) urging him to provide more help.

It has been suggested Mr Sunak may look to ease the burden on the taxpayer by cutting fuel duty and raising the income threshold at which people begin to pay national insurance.


The Financial Times reported on Tuesday evening that forecasts in the statement will show the deficit is better than expected this year, to the tune of £20 billion.

However, the newspaper said Mr Sunak is planning to set aside a large part of this windfall cash – rather than investing the full sum in driving down the cost of living.

Mr Sunak is expected to outline further plans to support households facing financial hardship, with the FT, The Times, The Telegraph and The Guardian all reporting that these are predicted to include a cut to fuel duty.

Those struggling to pay their energy bills will be hoping for new support from the Chancellor, as charity Citizens Advice said it was “continuing to break unwelcome records… issuing more foodbank vouchers and referrals to charitable support than at any point since the start of the pandemic”.


Dame Clare Moriarty, the organisation’s chief executive, said: “In his spring statement, the Chancellor has a crucial opportunity to stem the tide of this cost of living crisis.

“Increasing benefits in line with inflation, expanding the Warm Home Discount and announcing a more generous energy rebate should be top of his list.”

MPs were told on Tuesday that the measures which had already been announced were “insufficient for the scale of the crisis we’re facing”.

MoneySavingExpert founder Martin Lewis also claimed energy companies were upping customers’ direct debits disproportionately to the price cap increase, even for those in credit.

The rocketing energy bills faced by households have been caused in part by a post-pandemic rise in demand for gas, with lower levels of production. This was only exacerbated by the war in Ukraine.