With inflation soaring to 40-year highs, the Chancellor has stepped up her support to get Brits through the cost of living crisis
So who will get Rishi Sunak’s new endorsement – and when can they expect it?
What did Rishi Sunak announce?
After months of pressure on the government to do more to deal with the cost of living crisis, Rishi Sunak unveiled a £15billion support package for the nation.
He said he had eased public purses because of the “immediate hardship” high inflation has caused people across the UK.
Mr Sunak told MPs: “I know they are worried, I know people are struggling,” adding: “[the government] will not stand idly by while some in our country risk being thrown back so far that they may never recover.”
The Chancellor also insisted skyrocketing inflation could be brought under control after Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey admitted he felt helpless in the face of it.
“It is not an abstract force beyond our reach. It may take time, but we have the tools we need and the determination it takes to bring inflation down,” Mr Sunak said.
Asked later whether the timing of the announcement was intended to distract from revelations about parties at Downing Street, Mr Sunak insisted to reporters that “the timing today is because we now have more clarity [about energy bills]“.
Rishi Sunak said the cost-of-living support would be funded through a mix of new taxes and government borrowing.
About £5billion would come from a windfall tax on energy companies’ recent soaring profits – although Mr Sunak and Treasury officials described it as a levy.
Opposition parties have been calling for a similar tax for several months, claiming the chancellor was dragged “kicking and screaming” into a policy about-face.
Some backbench Tory MPs have also reacted furiously to the measure, indicating they see it as “unconservative”.
Most of the funding for the spending – around £10billion – is said to come from government loans.
Mr Sunak described it as “responsible fiscal policy”.
However, it marks a major reversal from a Spring declaration that called for little public spending but significant tax hikes and the government’s insistence that additional public spending would exacerbate inflation.
What living expenses support has been announced?
The main announcement from Rishi Sunak was that a previously announced £200 energy bill credit, due to be paid out in October, would now become a one-off £400 energy bill rebate.
This money will be paid to every household in the UK in October, regardless of their wealth or income.
Other measures announced by the government were:
- A one-off payment of £650 to support low-income households – The Treasury said this would support more than eight million households paying benefits. The money will be paid in two installments in July and in the fall.
- A payment of £300 to pensioner households – This money will be paid in November and December alongside the existing Winter Fuel Allowance.
- £150 for people on disability pension – It should be paid by September.
A further £500m would be given to councils in England as part of the existing Budget Support Fund and its deadline would be extended to March 2023.
This fund is used by local authorities to distribute money or essential items to the poorest people in their area.
Overall, that means the poorest eight million households will receive at least £1,200 in extra government support in 2022, according to the Treasury.
Will government cost of living support be available across the UK?
Most of Rishi Sunak’s announcements are published in England, Scotland and Wales.
However, the Budget Support Fund will be reserved for England only, with funds distributed to the devolved nations as calculated by Barnett’s formula.
The Government says it will adjust energy bill support for people in Northern Ireland.
Sinn Fein’s finance minister at Stormont, Conor Murphy, said: “The extra £14m that we will receive from the Household Support Fund cannot be allocated without an executive.
“This now means there is a total of £435m available that cannot be allocated to support families, workers and businesses with the cost of living and to support public services, particularly our health service.”
DUP MLA Jonathan Buckley said his party “wants to see devolved government in operation” but insisted it must be “on a sustainable, long-term basis” in order to do so.
Additional reporting by PA
https://www.nationalworld.com/lifestyle/money/cost-of-living-payments-rishi-sunak-help-energy-bills-how-much-when-3712268 New cost-of-living allowance – get it here