In these difficult financial times people are feeling the squeeze across our country and they’re feeling the impact in particular of the energy price spikes that are being caused by Putin’s war in Ukraine, and of course it’s right that the Government is doing everything that we can to help, and we’re putting £1200 into the pockets of the 8 million most vulnerable households and £400 for everybody to help with the cost of energy – £300 for pensioners, £150 off council tax – and the money will keep coming in throughout the Autumn – more coming in September and October.
And of course as some of you may have picked up, this is going to be one of my last events in the garden in Downing Street and there will be a new Prime Minister very shortly, I can tell you for certain will be either a man or a woman. Whoever he or she may be, I’m absolutely certain they will be wanting to make some more announcements in September/ October about what we’re going to do further to help people in the next period in December/ January and I just want you to know that I’m absolutely confident that we will have the fiscal firepower and the headroom to continue to look after people as we’ve done throughout.
And it’s absolutely vital in tough times, that the Government should recognise that there are also people who are doing fantastic things to help the vulnerable across our country and who need proper recognition and respect.
And I want to pay tribute to all of you Points of Light. I want to pay tribute to centenarians, like Dabirul Choudhury, who’s walked round his communal garden 100 times and has raised prodigious sums. I want to pay tribute to artists like Lucy Kent whose works are on display also raising money. The Spitfires have been flying overhead and proclaiming our gratitude to the NHS.
I want to think about particularly somebody I’ve met before – Tony Hudgell. Tony is seven years old and thank you for coming. It’s fantastic to see you. Tony has already raised £1 million for the hospital that helped to save your life, and you’ve also instituted Tony’s Law to make sure that people do not suffer the kind of abuse that you suffered so tragically, and thank you Tony for coming.
I’m going to give an award shortly to Steven Carr. Steven is one of the many thousands and thousands of people across this country who have been helping to look after people who have fled Ukraine in the last few months and I want to thank you Steven for everything that you’ve done to find homes for Ukrainian children.
I can’t mention all of the wonderful things that you’ve done but I do want you to know that so far in Number 10, and I say this careering towards the climax of my time in No10, I’ve done 736 Points of Light letters. That’s more than any other previous Prime Minister.
And I think you do wonderful, wonderful things. And every time I sign those letters and I read the things that you have done, I have a lump in my throat because I think you embody the spirit of service to other people, the spirit of community and I think the spirit that will get our country through the tough times and beyond in ever better shape. And if you, the 736 Points of Light that I’ve done, were a constellation, which of course you are, I think that you would represent the spirit of hope. And I think that you are the very best of Britain.
Thank you very much for everything.