Chair of the John Lewis Partnership, Dame Sharon White, has urged the government to issue a new aid package to help support consumers through the cost of living crisis on the same scale as Covid relief.
Speaking on the Peston Show on ITV, White said “the time has absolutely come” for government action, adding that any action needs to come before the Summer, with energy bills expected to rise again in October.
White, who was previously a second permanent secretary at the Treasury before her jump into retail, said that intervention could come from an “emergency budget” or through “another vehicle”.
She said: “…That hit is either going to happen to households, to families, people on low incomes, or we take a decision that given the scale and everything that’s happening… actually a temporary hit on public finances is worth it.”
White made the comments as John Lewis has begun to see the benefits of its turnaround strategy. Earlier this year John Lewis reinstated its £46m staff bonus amid record sales of £4.9bn, which was up 8% against last year. Against two years ago, John Lewis like-for-like sales were up by 10%.