Rishi Sunak is on course to announce a multibillion-pound financial package to help with the cost of living on Thursday, just a day after the anticipated Sue Gray report, Sky News understands.
The chancellor is meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson tomorrow to sign off the package, which could include a new windfall tax, help with fuel bills and assistance for the most vulnerable.
Mr Johnson is understood to be very keen to be able to announce the significant spending package before MPs disappear for the recess after Thursday.
Previously it had been expected in early June, after the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
The PM is understood to be hoping this will take some of the sting out of the partygate report by Ms Gray, which is expected on Wednesday.
This will prompt loud accusations that he is using the spending announcement as a “dead cat” to distract the country and his MPs from criticism, but the government will argue that inflation and growth forecasts make delay unwise.
The package is understood not yet to have been agreed. Any disagreement between Mr Johnson and Mr Sunak over the contents could still delay it.
Mr Sunak told the CBI to prioritise the most vulnerable, but Mr Johnson will be keen to do everything he can to pacify his backbenchers who have come up with multi billion pound demands for everything from benefit rises to VAT cuts.
Two weeks ago, Sky News was told that there would not be enough information on the likely cost of energy in the Autumn to make a judgement before July.
However, today Ofgem’s chief executive Jonathan Brearley announced the UK’s energy price cap is expected to rise in October to around £2,800, an increase of £830.