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'It shows how little he understands': Boris Johnson criticised over breezy cost of living crisis article

EPSOM, ENGLAND - AUGUST 26: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks to the media during a visit to South West London Orthopaedic Centre on August 26, 2022 in Epsom, Surrey, England. The Prime Minister's visit is to see how centre's work is contributing to busting the Covid backlogs by offering patients quicker access to treatment. (Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth - WPA pool/Getty Images)
Boris Johnson, pictured visiting a medical centre in Epsom this week, has predicted a 'golden' bounceback from the cost of living crisis. (Getty Images)

Boris Johnson has been criticised over a breezy article about the cost of living crisis, with Labour saying it shows “how little he understands”.

It follows the “shockwave” caused by the 80% increase in Ofgem’s price cap, announced on Friday. This will send the average household’s yearly energy bill from £1,971 to £3,549 from 1 October. At the start of the year, the average bill was £1,277.

In an article for The Mail+, Johnson struck a typically optimistic tone, saying the long-term future is “golden”.

Labour said the tone of the article was out of touch with the misery millions will be facing over the coming months.

While acknowledging “our energy bills are going to be eye-watering” and “the cost of heating our homes is already frightening”, Johnson added: “I have never been more certain that we will come through this well - and that Britain will emerge stronger and more prosperous [on] the other side.”

Watch: Next PM 'plainly' going to provide more cash for energy bills, says Johnson

Listing a number of areas where he believes the UK is prospering, such as with tech investment and low unemployment, the PM said he has “laid the foundations” for long-term prosperity.

He concluded by saying his government has made “the long-term decisions - including on domestic energy supply - to ensure that our bounce-back can and should be remarkable and that our future will be golden”.

This comes against a backdrop where economists at Cornwall Insight have forecasted the price cap will almost double to £6,616 by April next year.

Read more: 80 areas where people will spend more than fifth of take-home pay on energy bills

Speaking about the article on Sky News on Sunday, Pat McFadden, Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, said: “I think this morning’s article from the prime minister just shows how little he understands the shockwave that was sent through households around the country by Ofgem’s announcement on Friday.

“We are looking at energy bills of hundreds of pounds per month for households around the country and the conversation that’s taking place, of course, is: ‘How can we afford this, what else can we cut?’ And for some people, it will simply be impossible.”

Johnson’s sunny outlook is typical of his approach to politics. Simon Hart, one of his former cabinet ministers who quit last month as his scandal-hit administration collapsed, defended his former boss.

Read more: How much it will cost to use household appliances under new energy price cap

Hart, also appearing on Sky News, said Johnson was “contextualising the situation we’re in” and that it’s “perfectly reasonable for Boris Johnson and others to say: ‘Look, this is not going to be a permanent resting place for the UK economy.’”

The Johnson administration’s key cost of living support policy for the winter was a £400 energy bill rebate, to be split across six monthly instalments from October.

However, that was announced at a time when bills were forecast to reach £2,800 a year from October, way below the £3,549 announced on Friday.

Johnson said his successor - Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak, one of whom will take office in nine days’ time - will pledge “another huge package of financial support” next month.