Nadhim Zahawi has denied the government has “disappeared” as Boris Johnson enjoys his second foreign holiday of the summer.
Speaking to broadcasters, the chancellor was asked if the prime minister is absent “at a time of national emergency.”
Zahawi replied: “I do not agree with that, nor do I acknowledge it.”
The chancellor said officials in his department are “literally working day and night” to make sure options to ease the burden of rising cost of living “are on the table for the incoming prime minister”.
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He added: “If I don’t get that £400 in the next few months to cut those energy bills, in Britain but also the equivalent in Northern Ireland, then I would have failed those people.
“If I don’t make sure that if you are a pensioner, [you] get the extra £300 in the next few months, it would have failed.
“If I didn’t make sure you get the £150 if you’re disabled, I would have failed.
“So we’re working day and night to make sure we get this done and have every option for the incoming prime minister to get more help both for households that are really struggling and for small businesses.”
On Monday, Downing Street confirmed that Boris Johnson is not expected to take part in any engagements this week, as enjoy your second summer vacation abroad in less than a month.
Over the weekend, Johnson was seen in Greece as UK households grapple with the deepening impact of the cost of living crisis.
The prime minister took a vacation earlier this month. despite warnings of higher inflation and the threat of a recession later this year.
The prime minister’s official spokesman told reporters that the prime minister “is on leave this week” and is not doing day-to-day work.
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab can stand in for him at any meeting, the spokesman said, but none are currently scheduled.
The spokesman added that Mr Johnson “will be reachable” and “will be kept informed of any urgent issues”.
The prime minister’s official spokesman also confirmed that Johnson is paying for his trip, but declined to say whether his security is funded by taxpayers.
Asked why Johnson could not wait until his successor was named on September 5 before traveling abroad, the prime minister’s spokesman said he could not go into detail but said “government activity continues.” .
“I can’t go into the decision on timing, but he’s out this week. He’ll be back this weekend,” he told reporters.
“Over the last few weeks we have made a number of important announcements and will continue to do so in the coming days.”
Moving vans were seen outside Number 10 earlier this week.
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The Times newspaper reported that Johnson is spending a week’s holiday in the countryside, and locals see him shopping with his wife Carrie Johnson at a supermarket in Nea Makri, a town east of Athens.
Labor has criticized the prime minister, accusing him of treating the last few months as “one big party”.
A party spokesman said: “On the evidence of recent months, it seems to make little difference whether the prime minister is in office or on holiday, as he has continually failed to meet the challenge of the cost-of-living crisis for conservatives.”
“It’s all just one big party for Boris Johnson as the country struggles to pay its bills.”
Analysts have forecast that typical energy bills could rise to around £3,500 in October and over £4,200 in January.
The bills are expected to cost more than two months of average wages next year unless the government intervenes, a report suggests.