Britain’s largest telecoms companies are to hold talks with Nadine Dorries, the culture secretary, as cabinet ministers attempt to corral private sector bosses into addressing the cost of living crisis.
Sky News has learnt that BT Group and Vodafone are among the companies which have been invited to a meeting with Ms Dorries in the coming weeks.
The list of attendees and the agenda have yet to be finalised, but one Whitehall source said that Ms Dorries would be pressing them to come up with practical ideas for easing the squeeze on the living costs of millions of their customers.
These could, according to the source, include the provision of payment holidays or social tariffs which seek to help cash-strapped consumers.
A Department for Culture, Media and Sport spokesperson said: “We are looking at bringing together the UK’s telecoms leaders to explore how the industry can work together with the government to further support consumers through the global rise in the cost of living.”
Similar meetings are expected to be convened by other senior members of Boris Johnson’s administration in the weeks ahead as the government seeks to demonstrate that it is attempting to ease the pressure on household bills.
Spiking domestic energy and petrol prices have begun to pose a particular challenge, with food price inflation also reaching levels not seen for decades.
Last week, the government announced the appointment of David Buttress, former boss of the food delivery service JustEat, as its cost-of-living tsar.
The Cabinet Office said Mr Buttress would devise “business-led initiatives” to assist consumers.
It subsequently emerged that he had posted a series of pejorative tweets about Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party.