Published: 14:04, 21 September 2021
| Updated: 16:02, 21 September 2021
A Kent MP has warned that hundreds of thousands of people could face a cost of living crisis this winter as food and energy prices soar.
As concerns grow about rising costs, the intervention by Damian Green, who represents Ashford, came as the government sought to downplay fears of many vulnerable households struggling to make ends meet.
The Conservative MP, a former cabinet minister who was deputy to Theresa May when she was Prime Minister, warned of the prospect of "very, very difficult times ahead for hundreds of thousands of people in this country".
He added: "We are facing a big global inflation problem, which I suspect will become the biggest political issue for the coming decade."
He said about 500,000 particularly vulnerable people would be struggling this winter, citing the £20 cut to Universal Credit as another pressure.
"These are people many of whom are already working very hard to keep their families' heads above water," he continued.
"Already the £20 cut was going to be difficult for them.
"Now we see we're going to get rising energy prices and we've already seen that the growth in inflation is faster than it has been for a generation.
"There's the possibility of very, very difficult times ahead for hundreds of thousands of people."
Secretary of State for business, Kwasi Kwarteng, speaking in the House of Commons, said: "There is no question of the lights going out, of people being unable to heat their homes.
"There will be no three-day working week, or a throwback to the 1970s.
"Such thinking is alarmist, unhelpful and completely misguided."