Boris Johnson has declared he is “absolutely confident” that his successor as prime minister “will have the fiscal firepower and the headroom to continue to continue to look after people”.
The Prime Minister also said he is “certain” that whoever wins the Tory leadership election will want to make announcements about how they will “further help people” struggling to get by.
Speaking at a Downing Street reception on Tuesday, Mr Johnson cracked jokes about it being one of his last events in the garden at Number 10, and the next prime minister being either a man or a woman.
He said: “In these difficult financial times people are feeling the squeeze across our country and they’re feeling the impact in particular of the energy price spikes that are being caused by (Vladimir) Putin’s war in Ukraine and of course it’s right that the Government is doing everything that we can to help and we’re putting £1,200 into the pockets of the eight million most vulnerable households and £400 for everybody to help with the cost of energy, £300 for pensioners, £150 off council tax, and the money will keep coming in throughout the autumn, more coming in September and October.”
To laughs, he added: “And of course as some of you may have picked up, this is going to be one of my last events in the garden in Downing Street and there will be a new prime minister very shortly, I can tell you for certain it will be either a man or a woman.”
The two candidates left in the race to replace him are former chancellor Rishi Sunak and his foreign secretary Liz Truss, who leads in the polls.
He added: “And whoever he or she may be, they, I’m absolutely certain, will be wanting to make some more announcements in September/October about what we’re going to do further to help people in the next period in December/ January and I just want you to know that I’m absolutely confident that we will have the fiscal firepower and the headroom to continue to continue to look after people as we’ve done throughout.”
He was speaking to people he has given Points of Light awards, a scheme which recognises “outstanding individual volunteers”.
Tony Hudgell, seven, who had to have both his legs amputated in 2017 as a result of abuse suffered at the hands of his birth parents, was among those honoured at the event.
Mr Johnson said: “Tony has already raised £1 million for the hospital that helped I think to save your life, Tony, and you’ve also instituted Tony’s Law to make sure that people do not suffer the kind of abuse that you suffered so tragically and thank you Tony for coming.”
Addressing all the volunteers, he added: “I think you embody the spirit of service to other people, the spirit of community and I think the spirit that will get our country through the tough times and beyond in ever better shape.”
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