‘Should be grateful!?’ PM shamed for reply over Elsie, 77, forced to ride bus for warmth

Susanna Reid puts PM on the spot over cost of living crisis

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The Prime Minister addressed rising energy bills and price hikes this year during an interview on Good Morning Britain (GMB) today. Interviewer Susanna Reid shared the story of Elsie, a 77-year-old widowed pensioner who is scared about the rising cost of living.

While Elsie receives £170 per week through her pension, this may not be enough to help her.

The widow’s energy bills have risen from £17 per month to £85 per month, meaning she will now pay £816 extra per year.

Elsie is now eating one meal per day, and is losing weight as a result of this change.

She visits her local supermarket at the end of the day to purchase yellow sticker discount items in order to keep her prices down.

Viewers were shocked to hear Elsie gets up early to use her freedom bus pass, remaining on buses for hours to make sure she does not spend “too much” time at home.

The Prime Minister said he empathised with Elsie and those who are in her position.

He said: “I just want to remind you, the 24 hour Freedom Bus Pass is something I introduced.”

Responding, Susanna asked whether Elsie should be grateful for the free bus pass.

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Mr Johnson touched upon support available, and said: “We want to make sure we have people looked after by their councils, so we are putting more money there.

“There are payments in place to help older people with the cost of living.

“I don’t want Elsie to have to cut back on anything. We need to help her as much as we can.

“There’s a direct council tax rebate, and there are measures we’ve put in place to help people.

What did you think of the Prime Minister’s interview? Join the debate in the comments section here. 

“We are making sure we take the steps now to invest in our energy supply to make sure we have help in the medium and long term.”

Mr Johnson said it is important to have a strong economy going forward, as this is more likely to help Britons. 

GMB viewers were outraged at the Prime Minister’s response to the plight of the widow.

@HeathertheHeron said: “Johnson probably spends as much as Elsie’s energy bill on his claret bill every week.

“Here we go, more promises that will never be fulfilled!”

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@StephMarbella said: “This man has no clue what normal people are coping with! Tone deaf!”

And @Twirl100 added: “I was gobsmacked. He heard Elsie’s dire situation then said ‘Oh yes, warm buses that was my great idea’.”

A DWP spokesperson recently told Express.co.uk: “We recognise the pressures people are facing with the cost of living, which is why we’re providing support worth over £22 billion this year to help.

“From this month, the full yearly amount of the basic state pension will be over £2,300 higher than in 2010 and the latest figures show there are 400,000 fewer pensioners in absolute poverty compared to 2009/10.

“We’re also continuing to work with stakeholders and others to increase awareness of Pension Credit, with the number of new claims 30 percent higher in 2021 compared to 2019 – and take up now at its highest level since 2010.”

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