Rishi Sunak eyes £600 payout and tax cut to help pay energy bills

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is planning two more measures to help people pay soaring gas and electricity bills, according to reports. Mr Sunak will increase the hot house rebate and cut taxes so homes can more easily afford gas and electricity.

According to the Times, the Treasury is considering increasing the Hot House Rebate – which gave people £150 off their bills – to a one-off payment of £600. And Mr Sunak is also considering cutting income tax by 1p or VAT.

Energy bills will be increased again in October.

The National Energy Action (NEA) energy poverty charity has criticized the government’s response to the cost of living crisis warning that many vulnerable people face long waits for additional financial support. The charity has reported that people who do not pay council tax by direct debit have been affected and are awaiting payment of a £150 tax rebate.

It comes days after food bank charity Feeding Britain called on Ofgem to intervene amid fears vulnerable families have cut their electricity and gas to avoid being pushed deeper into destitution. Councils were due to start paying council tax rebates to households from last month, when the energy price cap was raised from £693 to £1,971 for the average household.

Adam Scorer, chief executive of the NEA, said: “The government’s response to the energy crisis has been totally inadequate so far. We have serious concerns about how the council tax refund will be implemented.

“Councils across the country will have their own way of administering the scheme, creating a postcode lottery for struggling households.”

Mr Scorer also warned that an “already dire situation” will worsen when the price cap rises again in October and temperatures fall again unless the government provides additional financial support. The latest forecast from Cornwall Insight, a consultancy, indicates that the cap could reach £2,595 in October and remain at around £2,300 until April 2024. However, these forecasts are based on early data.

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