Martin Lewis blasts Minister for 'patronising' advice on buying value food brands

4 May 2022, 18:32 | Updated: 4 May 2022, 20:51

Martin Lewis called Government advice to those struggling to eat amid the cost of living crisis "patronising"
Martin Lewis called Government advice to those struggling to eat amid the cost of living crisis "patronising". Picture: LBC/Alamy

By Megan Hinton

Martin Lewis called Government advice to those struggling to eat amid the cost of living crisis "patronising b*******" but said Boris Johnson may provide "hope" of political intervention.

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Speaking on LBC's Tonight with Andrew Marr, Martin Lewis said "ironically" the Prime Minister will be the one to provide financial help to those struggling, before the Chancellor as he is a "populist politician".

It comes after Environment Secretary George Eustice suggested families struggling with the rising cost of food buy value brands rather than own-branded products so they can "contain and manage their household budget".

Speaking about Mr Eustice's comments, the Money Saving Expert said: "What is wrong is the concept that the people that are on the lowest incomes who are choosing between whether they freeze or starve, don't know that and don't do that, that's the bulls***."

"The advice is perfectly reasonable, if you are going supermarket shopping and you are buying the most expensive brands and you need to cut back, then drop down a brand level or two.

"But the idea that that is some panacea for the working poor and the non-working poor in this country who don't have enough income, don't know that, that's what comes across as patronising and difficult."

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The Money Saving Expert warned there are "a material number in absolute desperation" revealing his "mailbag is devastating to read on occasion with people who simply have nowhere to turn".

He added: "The usual tools we have no longer work because expenditure is bigger than income no matter what you do and that leads to a very simple solution, we need to increase income."

Mr Lewis said the crisis has reached such a point that "without a doubt [the UK] needs political intervention"
Mr Lewis said the crisis has reached such a point that "without a doubt [the UK] needs political intervention". Picture: LBC

Mr Lewis said the crisis has reached such a point that "without a doubt [the UK] needs political intervention", when Andrew questioned Mr Lewis on what measures the Government should now consider introducing he suggested a "social tariff for energy" with a "a new price cap specifically for people who were never able to take advantage of the market".

He added: "The way we help people is we either take less cash out of their pockets, or we put more cash in their pockets and that's not rocket science. The question is how do we pay for it?"

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Andrew continued by asking Mr Lewis: "Does Boris Johnson get it?"

"Ironically, Boris Johnson for the cost of living crisis is probably the hope," Martin claimed.

"Boris Johnson is a populist politician and as the pressure ramps up... Especially from people like myself who aren't involved in party politics saying 'you aren't doing enough', and the red wall seats may start to crumble, because the cost of living crisis is the biggest issue out there.

Environment Secretary George Eustice suggested families struggling with the rising cost of food to but value brands
Environment Secretary George Eustice suggested families struggling with the rising cost of food to but value brands. Picture: Alamy

"And the public start to lose faith, because when there are bread earners who can't afford to feed their families, you know things start to get pretty desperate.

"As an instinctive populist politician Boris Johnson may well be the one who caves to say 'we need to do more'."

Food poverty campaigner Jack Monroe echoed a similar message and urged the government to use real time inflation rates when providing help to those worst affected, saying: "To use inflation figures from six months ago means people will not be getting uprating in line with what things are costing now."

Adding: "Somebody who claims £196,000 in expenses in a single year is in no position to tell other people to buy cheaper biscuits."