Sir Keir Starmer accuses Government of failing on cost of living on Crawley temple visit

Tap to watch Sir Keir Starmer's full ITV News Meridian interview on his visit to Crawley's Hindu Temple

Sir Keir Starmer has accused the Government of failing people on the cost of living crisis but refused to say how much public sector wages should increase by.

The Labour leader was visiting the Hindu Temple in Crawley, West Sussex to hear about concerns over rising fuel, food and energy bills.

The town was one of the worst affected by the pandemic, with thousands of airline workers losing their jobs at nearby Gatwick, with many people feeling financial pressures yet again.

But when asked by ITV News to what percentage should the wages of public sector staff increase by, Mr Starmer said it's not for him to say,

The Labour leader on a visit to the Hindu temple in Crawley Credit: ITV News Meridian

"Well, look, there are different negotiations by different bodies going on. I want them to get round the table to negotiate a settlement.

"It's not for me to say what that precise percentage should be. There's a mechanism in place. That's why we have those mechanisms. I want them around the table. I want these issues resolved as they are every year.

"But I also want the government that provides the framework for that resolution, not a government that says, well, it's not our job to lift a finger to deal with some of these issues."

The Government say million homes across the country will start to see cost-of-living payments hit their bank accounts on July 14 as part of a package to help people deal with soaring energy prices.

Watch: people in Crawley respond to Sir Keir Starmer's stance on what Labour would do to deal with the Cost of Living Crisis

From that date, a first instalment of £326 will start to be paid out to low-income households on benefits, the Department for Work and Pensions announced.

The second portion of the one-off £650 payment will follow in the autumn, as part of support worth £1,200 that vulnerable households will receive this year, which also includes a previously announced £150 council tax rebate.

Crawley was badly hit by the covid-19 pandemic Credit: ITV News Meridian

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said: "With millions of the lowest-income households soon seeing the first of two cash instalments land into their bank accounts, we are taking action to directly help families with the cost of living.

"This one-off payment totalling £650 is part of our £37 billion cost-of-living support package that will put an extra £1,200 into the pockets of those most in need."

Labour is calling for an emergency budget and to reverse upcoming tax hikes.

"If this government had grown the economy in the same way that the last Labor government did, we'd have billions of pounds to spend on our public services without changing the tax rises at all" said Mr Starmer.

They've been in power for 12 years. Through that 12 years, we've had stagnation of our economy."