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Cost of living: all of the Government’s latest ideas - from free MOTs to reducing cost of childcare

Boris Johnson called on every minister to produce ideas to help ease ‘real pressures’, putting money back in voters’ purses and wallets

Ministers discussed “a number of ideas” at a Cabinet meeting called by the Prime Minister on Tuesday (26 April) to ease the cost of living crisis as prices soar across the board.

Mr Johnson asked them to bring “innovative” schemes and accepted Britons were facing “real pressures.”

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Ministers put forward and backed certain proposals including parents receiving further childcare support and changing how MOTs are currently run.

However it is suggested no new money would be provided in the coming months to ease the pain after Chancellor Rishi Sunak warned of rising public debt.

Here are all of the Government’s latest ideas explained from what they are to who proposed it.

Changes to MOT

Drivers would only need to take their car for an MOT every two years.

At the moment, cars over three years old need a current MOT certificate which must be renewed every year.

Having an MOT test every other year, would save motorists £27.43 a year.

However, the AA motoring group has said changing the requirement could end up costing motorists more.

The idea was suggested by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, with the government pegging the annual cost of an MOT at a maximum of £54.85.

Although repair work to make it pass can make motorists pay a lot more.

Mr Shapps wants to examine the possibility of extending renewal times to help drivers.

Reducing childcare costs

Reducing childcare costs by increasing the number of children each staff member at a nursery can look after, as well as encouraging parents to use their entitlement to some free childcare.

Proposals urging families to take up the offer of £2,000 a year towards childcare costs were suggested.

Currently 1.3 million families do not take up the offer of up to £2,000 a year towards childcare costs.

The Prime Minister was said to be particularly keen to cut the cost of childcare.

Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said the Prime Minister told ministers “there was more to do, including in areas like childcare, to further ease pressures for those who need it most and to get even more people into high-skilled, high-wage jobs”.

He declined to give more details about the plan, saying it was “live policy work taking place and I’m sure we’ll have more to say in the future”.

Ministers were already looking at increasing the number of children each staff member at a nursery can look after, as part of a wider set of measures to improve the quality of childcare and ease costs.

However it is understood no decision has yet been made on ratios by the Department for Education.

Slashing food tariffs

A Cabinet rift emerged over plans to slash food tariffs.

Proposals were suggested to reduce levies on imports that are not produced in the UK, such as rice and exotic fruit and vegetables.

The supermarket ban on buy-one-get-one-free junk food offers could also be delayed.

Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg, Minister of State for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency, are believed to be backing proposals.

Armed Forces Minister James Heappey said it will serve to work in tandem with other policy changes.

He said: “I wouldn’t sniff at the removal of a tariff on a particular food type because if that sits alongside a reduction in fuel duty at the pumps which has happened, sits alongside a rising of the personal allowance, an increase in the National Living Wage, cumulatively you can see how that starts to ease the pressure on families that are struggling the most,” he said.

Lowering taxes

Lowering taxes was proposed as the best way to help voters amid the cost of living crisis.

Policing minister Kit Malthouse poke up for lower taxes as an important way to “regenerate” the economy.

Mr Malthouse, according to one Cabinet colleague present who recounted the intervention to The Telegraph, said: “We are a party and a government of low taxation.

“The quickest way of actually regenerating the economy and getting retail activity and job creation back on course is by reducing the tax burden, not increasing it.”

Jacob Rees-Mogg agreed and argued that the net zero carbon emissions target should be overhauled.

What has been said about the new proposals?

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman refused to be drawn on leaks from Cabinet because “it’s important that this policy work is able to be done properly before being set out”.

However, he added: “I think the public can be reassured that we are considering every possible option to ensure the public can keep more of their money and we can reduce the burdens on them in the face of these global inflationary pressures.”

The spokesman said the committee “will meet in the next couple of weeks.”

Justice Secretary Dominic Raab told Times Radio: “What the Prime Minister and the whole Cabinet was discussing is what more we can do - and we will never rest, we will never let up beyond the existing package what more we can do to ease the pressure.

“But what I would say is, in fairness, it’s quite right that Cabinet discusses, thrashes through, these ideas and the subcommittees of Cabinet do.”

However, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has hit out at the Cabinet meeting.

He said he wants to see “an emergency budget, not a Cabinet meeting” to address the cost of living crisis.

He told reporters in Stevenage: “The cost-of-living crisis has been staring us in the face for six months now and it’s a real problem for people struggling with their bills – and the Cabinet meeting isn’t going to change any of that.”