RISHI Sunak today unveiled a bumper package to help hard-up Brits with the soaring cost of living.
The Chancellor announced £15billion worth of relief, including £1,500 for the poorest households and energy discounts for all, to ease the pressure on people's finances.
Speaking in the House of Commons this afternoon, Mr Sunak revealed families across the country can expect money off their sky-rocketing bills, which are set to rise to £2,800 a year from October, funded by a windfall tax on oil and gas firms.
The much-needed cash will be an increase to the £200 saving unveiled earlier in the year, to be paid back in chunks over five years.
And it will take the form of a grant, not a loan, and therefore not need to be repaid.
Elsewhere in Mr Sunak's multi-billion pound plans to draw a line under Partygate and focus on the squeeze in living standards caused by inflation, he said he will assist Britain's poorest.
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This includes those on means-tested benefits, who will receive two lump-sum payments worth £650 in July and the autumn at a cost of more than £5bn to the treasury.
More than eight million households, including those on Universal Credit, pensions credit, housing benefit, jobseekers' allowance and income support, will be eligible.
The Chancellor also announced:
- a Windfall tax on gas and oil firms to partially fund the support
- £300 one-off payment to low-income pensioners
- £150 extra one-off disability payment
- £400 energy discount for EVERY household
- An extra £500million for the Household Support Fund
And that is on top of a £400 energy bill discount for every household, regardless of income.
Direct debit and credit customers will have the cash sent straight to their accounts, while it will be applied to the meters of those on pre-pay plans.
In addition, over eight million pensioner households will receive an extra one-off payment of £300 to help them cover the rising cost of energy this winter.
And six million Brits with disabilities will also be handed an additional £150.
Finally, a staggering £500m will be added to the Household Support Fund to assist those most in need combat the rising cost of food, energy, and water bills.
This Government will not sit idly by while there is a risk that some in our country might be set so far back they might never recover.
Mr Sunak told MPs: "We need to make sure that for those whom the struggle is too hard and for whom the risks are too great they are supported.
"This Government will not sit idly by while there is a risk that some in our country might be set so far back they might never recover.
"This is simply unacceptable and we will never allow that to happen.
"And I want to reassure everybody that we will get through this, we have the tools and the determination we need to combat and reduce inflation, we will make sure the most vulnerable and least well-off get the support they need at this time of difficulty, and we will turn this moment of difficulty into a springboard for economic renewal and growth."
He unveiled his “timely, temporary and targeted” support to weather economic storms after weeks of pressure to do more.
Ministers have spent months criticising the idea of a windfall tax because of its potential impact on investment.
But in a major U-turn today, the Chancellor slapped a levy on the "extraordinary" profits of fossil fuel giants Shell and BP which have benefited from high global prices.
He did, however, say it would include a “new investment allowance” to incentivise the reinvestment of profits.
Britain's annual inflation rate has surged to a 40-year high on rocketing energy costs, squeezing household budgets and leaving many struggling to make ends meet.
Inflation, as measured by the consumer price index, hit nine per cent in April, up from from seven per cent in March.
This, coupled with the conflict in Ukraine and the pandemic, has pushed energy and food prices up and forced banks to ramp up interest rates.
'WE WILL GET THROUGH THIS'
Boris Johnson said the hundreds of billions poured in to dealing with Covid had left a "very difficult fiscal position".
At a Downing Street press conference, the Prime Minister acknowledged households "are going to see pressures for a while to come".
But he said: "We will continue to respond, just as we responded throughout the pandemic.
"It won't be easy, we won't be able to fix everything.
"But what I would also say is we will get through it and we will get through it well."
The need for extra help was also illustrated by Ofgem chief executive Jonathan Brearley's indication that the energy price cap will increase by a further £830 to £2,800 in October.
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The support package announced today will apply directly for households in England, Scotland, and Wales, with similar measures in place for those in Northern Ireland.
It is in addition to the £150 Council Tax rebate for households in bands A to D in England, which was announced in February.
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