Rishi Sunak heckled on cost of living during walkabout

Rishi Sunak heckled by passerby over his heating bill

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Rishi Sunak was today heckled over the cost of living crisis as he visited northern England to promote new levelling-up funding. The Prime Minister stepped out in Morecambe, Lancashire, when a passer-by shouted: “Lend us 20 quid for my heating bill, Rishi.”

It was unclear if Mr Sunak, who was joined by Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove, heard the request which he did not respond to.

It comes as Brits are struggling with soaring inflation, with energy bills through the roof.

The PM was in the North to promote his £2.1 billion levelling-up spending.

Elsewhere during the visit, Mr Sunak said his audience understands why he cannot cut tax as they are “not idiots”.

The Prime Minister insisted he wants to slash taxes but blamed the Covid pandemic and Russia’s war in Ukraine for stopping him doing so yet.

His comments came during the week that Tory MPs aligned with former premier Liz Truss’s tax-cutting agenda met for the first time as part of the “Conservative Growth Group”.

Mr Sunak defended his policies during a discussion with voters he has dubbed “PM Connect”.

He said: “When I was Chancellor I also really preferred it when the Prime Minister didn’t comment on tax policy.

“I’m a Conservative, I want to cut your taxes… I wish I could do that tomorrow quite frankly but the reason we can’t is because of all the reasons you know.

“You’re not idiots, you know what’s happened.

“We had a massive pandemic for two years, we had to shut the country down, do a bunch of extraordinary things that didn’t come cheap.

“Now we’ve got this war going on which is having an enormous impact on inflation and interest rates.”

Mr Sunak said it “takes a bit of work” to get the state of the public finances “where it needs to be”.

But he vowed to strengthen the economy, secure lower interest rates and get a “grip of” soaring inflation.

He added: “Trust me that’s what I’m going to do for you this year, that’s what we’re going to do while I’m Prime Minister and if we do those things we will be able to cut your taxes.”

It comes as Mr Sunak was forced to apologise today for not wearing his seatbelt while a passenger in the back of a moving car as he filmed an Instagram video to promote his levelling-up spending.

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