Nadhim Zahawi has denied the government has ‘disappeared’ as Boris Johnson enjoys his second overseas vacation of the summer.
Speaking to broadcasters, the Chancellor was asked if the Prime Minister was out ‘in times of national emergency’.
Mr Zahawi replied: “I don’t agree with that, nor do I acknowledge it.”
The Chancellor said officials in his department were “literally working night and day” to ensure options to ease the burden of the rising cost of living “are on the table for the new Prime Minister”.
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He added: “If I weren’t doling out this £400 over the next two months to reduce these energy bills – in Britain, but also the equivalent in Northern Ireland – then I would have let these people down.
“If I don’t make sure that if you’re a retiree, [you] get the extra £300 in the next few months I would have failed.
“If I didn’t make sure you got the £150 if you’re disabled, I would have failed.
‘So we are working day and night to make sure this is done and that the new Prime Minister has all the options for more help both for households that are really struggling and for small businesses.’
Downing Street confirmed on Monday that Boris Johnson is not expected to take part in any engagements this week as he enjoying his second summer vacation abroad in less than a month.
Over the weekend Mr Johnson was spotted in Greece as UK households grapple with the growing impact of the cost of living crisis.
The Prime Minister took a vacation earlier this month despite warnings of continued inflation and the threat of a recession later this year.
The prime minister’s official spokesman told reporters that the prime minister was “on leave this week” and not working day to day.
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab is able to replace him in all meetings, the spokesman said, but none are currently scheduled.
The spokesman added that Mr Johnson “will be contactable” and “kept informed of any urgent issues”.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman also confirmed that Mr Johnson was paying for his trip, but declined to say whether his security was taxpayer funded.
Asked why Mr Johnson could not wait until his successor was appointed on September 5 before traveling abroad, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said he could not go into detail at about it, but said “government activity continues”.
“I can’t make a decision on timings, but he’s off this week. He’ll be back this weekend,” he told reporters.
“Over the past few weeks we have made a number of important announcements and will continue to do so in the coming days.”
Moving vans were spotted outside Number 10 earlier this week.
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The Times newspaper reported that Mr Johnson was spending a week’s holiday in the country, with locals seeing him shopping alongside his wife Carrie Johnson at a supermarket in Nea Makri, a town east of Athens.
Labor has slammed the Prime Minister, accusing him of treating recent months as “one big party”.
A party spokesman said: “Based on the evidence of the past few months, it appears to make little difference whether the Prime Minister is in office or on vacation as he has still failed to rise to the challenge of the Tory cost of living crisis.
“It’s just a big party for Boris Johnson as the country struggles to pay its bills.”
Analysts have predicted that typical energy bills could reach around £3,500 in October and over £4,200 in January.
Bills are expected to cost more than two months of average wages next year unless the government steps in, a report says.