Annual MOTs could be scrapped in push to lower the cost of living without extra Government spending

Annual MOTs could be scrapped and childcare regulations relaxed as part of a package of plans to ease the cost of living without spending more Government money.

Next month, Boris Johnson is hoping to announce a set of measures which can tackle the crisis with regulatory changes and corporate “nudges”.

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has ruled out increasing borrowing or raising taxes again before the autumn, when he will announce a second support package to deal with inevitable rises in energy bills.

Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister will lead a domestic and economic committee which will agree on the strategy to be implemented across Whitehall departments.

On Tuesday he held a Cabinet meeting where all ministers were told to propose ideas on how to deal with living costs in a fiscally neutral way.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps suggests changing the rules on MOTs so the tests are required only every other year rather than annually, which would reduce costs for motorists.

More from Politics

Another idea discussed at the meeting would see the maximum number of children which a single childminder can look after increased, to bring down the average price of a place in childcare.

Nadine Dorries, the Culture Secretary, wants to encourage other departments to share data on individuals to ensure that people are aware of all the existing benefits and support for which they are eligible – for example, all those who get pension credit can also automatically claim several other payments.

Mr Johnson’s committee – also featuring the Chancellor, Dominic Raab and Steve Barclay – will sift through dozens of ideas expected to be submitted by various departments and decide which ones should be part of the final package.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is in favor of promoting renewables but in a Cabinet meeting he clashed with Jacob Rees-Mogg who has argued for fresh tax cuts (Photo: Hannah McKay/Reuters)

Mr Sunak has told the Prime Minister he is not prepared to offer any more money in the coming months after pledging £22bn of support this month. A source close to the Chancellor told I: “The Treasury can’t always be the solution to these things. We are in a difficult spot, you just have to look at the public finances.”

However, he is planning to introduce a fresh support package from October, when the cap on domestic energy bills is raised again by up to 50 per cent. The new measures will be drawn up over the summer and could be announced as soon as August.

Short-term proposals designed to bridge the gap which have already been introduced in recent weeks include a push to encourage telecoms and broadband companies to keep customers informed about discounted tariffs they may be eligible for, bringing down the cost of fertiliser so that farmers can control food prices, and changing universal credit rules to let claimants keep more of their payments.

At Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting ministers clashed over the best approach to take, with Jacob Rees-Mogg arguing for fresh tax cuts and suggesting the UK’s net-zero emissions target should be shelved – only to be slapped down by Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, who insisted promoting renewables would bring down energy prices.

PM’s menu of support

Rarer MOTs
An idea proposed by Grant Shapps would cut the requirement for motorists to commission an MOT test on their car every two years rather than every year, halving the long-term cost of the tests. The AA said: “Though well intended, moving the yearly £55 spend on an MOT to every two years could make costs worse for drivers with higher repair bills, make our roads more dangerous and would put jobs in the garage industry at risk.”

Childcare rules
Another proposal would see childminders allowed to look after more children per person which could reduce the cost of childcare by bringing down staffing costs. But the National Day Nurseries Association said: “We risk putting additional pressure on an overworked workforce while undermining efforts to give children the best start in life.”

Telecom bills
Some companies which provide telephone and broadband services offer “social tariffs” of between £10 and £25 a month to customers who receive certain benefits such as universal credit, but regulator Ofcom estimates no more than 2 per cent of eligible households claim them. Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has written to telecoms bosses asking how they can reach the nearly 5 million families not taking up the tariffs and promote awareness of the programme.

Farming fertilize
Environment Secretary George Eustice has brought in changes to help farmers deal with a global shortage of fertiliser, and rise in the price of that which is available. Anti-pollution rules limiting the use of urea fertiliser are being suspended for a year, while farmers will be paid to help store natural fertiliser until it is needed. Mr Eustice hopes this will restrict increases in the cost of food in the shops.

Benefits changes
The Department for Work and Pensions has frozen the amount of money universal credit claimants send automatically to their energy providers to avoid a major reduction in their take-home income. Instead, claimants can speak to the energy firms themselves to work out how much extra they need to pay and whether there are ways to reduce their usage rather than paying significantly more. Households are also being urged to double-check which benefits they are eligible for, because the department’s budget includes millions of pounds in unclaimed funds.

Leave a Comment