Breaking: Martin Lewis challenges new prime minister to hour-long interview on cost of living

The new prime minister will be announced on September 5 and they will immediately inherit a crisis over the cost of living, with energy bills set to skyrocket.

Jen Mills 

Many are awaiting a response from the government, but have been told to wait until either Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss is named as the winner of the Tory leadership race.

Now, Martin Lewis is seeking to move the process along of finding out how they intend to help households weather the storm of a huge increase in their electricity and gas bills.

He has challenged whoever wins the contest to an hour-long interview on ITV about the cost of living.

The journalist, who became famous through his Money Saving Expert website offering explanations and tips on finance, has become one of the loudest voices on the crisis.

He has warned that ‘people will die’ this winter if help is not provided, from struggling to heat their homes in the cold and having to cut their income so much many will have to decided whether to heat or eat.

He wrote on Twitter this morning: ‘Dear @trussliz / @RishiSunak, The cost of living crisis has left millions worried how they’ll make ends meet.

‘I’d like to formally invite you, as the new PM, to join me asap once you take office for a special hour’s @itvMLshow discussion/Q&A to answer/ease people’s concerns.

‘ITV is happy to support this, so together will also extend the invite through official channels to both of you now for speed.

‘The preference is live in the evening, but we understand the time pressures and are happy to work on scheduling with you to make this work.’

He urged people to share the tweet inviting the winning politician to appear on the Martin Lewis Money Show Live, to get traction for the challenge.

When someone responded to say that he would only get ‘waffle, piffle and half promises’, he said: ‘I politely disagree. If this happens I will get straight answers.

‘There’s no point agreeing to do it unless you’ve something to say for an hour. And they know I’m focused on just cost of living so it’s details needed :)’

He also stressed that this would not be a ‘debate’ on the cost of living, as he is a consumer finance journalist and not an opposition politician.

Instead, ‘this is about an interview and Q&A for them to explain and answer questions on their plans.’

‘I’d happily give broad subject area notice but not vetted questions,’ he added.

Mr Lewis has previously called for more clarity on what government action will be taken on the cost of living.

Ofgem’s price cap for average household fuel and electricity bills – currently set to the equivalent of £1,971 a year – is already set to jump by more than 80% to £3,549 in October.

But this figure is likely to double to £7,263 when the cap is reviewed again in April, according to consultants Auxilione.

Liz Truss has said she will announce an emergency budget if she becomes prime minister, thought to include tax cuts and a reversal of the planned 1.25% increase in National Insurance.

However, how much this would help the very poorest has been questioned, with the FT stating that it would ‘offer only £59 to someone on the national minimum wage.’

Rishi Sunak said he would be prepared to find £10bn to soften the impact of this October’s price rise, with support going to the most vulnerable.

Writing in The Times at the start of August, he said that this would be paid for by limiting or pausing some programmes within the government, with some temporary borrowing as a last resort.

Expecting the new PM to show up and defend their policies to Mr Lewis may be a long shot, however.

Liz Truss pulled out of a planned face-to-face interview with BBC journalist Nick Robinson two days ago, saying she could ‘no longer spare the time’.