Sir Keir Starmer called for voters to send a message to Boris Johnson over his “pathetic” response to the cost of living crisis – as he launched Labour’s local election campaign.
The party is focusing on the crunch facing UK households – which it says it would partly mitigate through a plan to take £600 off bills, paid for by a windfall levy on oil and gas company profits.
Labour says families face being thousand of pounds worse off as household taxes and consumer prices rise and that the response from Mr Johnson’s government is inadequate.
Sir Keir said: “Voting Labour on May 5 will send a message to the government that they can’t ignore – that Britain deserves better than their pathetic response to the cost of living crisis.”
The Labour leader was speaking a day ahead of a 54% rise in Ofgem’s energy price cap which will add a typical £693 to millions of annual household bills.
He said: “Tomorrow we see the impact of the energy bill hike and people are really worried about this.
“The Labour party is the only party that’s put a plan on the table – a windfall tax on oil and gas companies in the North Sea that can take up to £600 off the bills of those that need it most.
“That is a practical plan that can be put into operation right here, right now.”
Launching the campaign at an event earlier in Bury, the Labour leader told supporters: “People at the moment feel they can’t pay their bills.
“They are worried – tossing and turning at night about whether they can make ends meet.”
The party is also addressing issues such as job security – saying the controversial sacking of 800 P&O workers would not have happened on its watch – and anti-social behaviour.
Sir Keir said Labour was offering “security, prosperity and respect” and was “the party that is on your side”.
The party claims that “average families this year are £2,620 worse off” – calling that “the cost of the Tories”.
That calculation includes a rising tax burden, higher energy, fuel and food costs as well as rising mortgage bills as interest rates rise.
The Conservatives pointed out that some of the cost of living increases would happen whichever party was in power – and claimed that Labour’s spending plans would add thousands of pounds more in taxes.
A spokesman for the party said: “The Conservatives are getting on with the job with serious measures to protect jobs, grow the economy and keep bills down, with practical action like our £150 council tax rebate this Friday.”