Jeremy Hunt says no more help for households amid bills increase

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The average increase is happening as the Government is increasing the cap set in place by the Energy Price Guarantee, which protects consumers from the market price of energy. The increase is a particularly big hit for Britons as the £400 energy bill discount will also come to an end for households in England, Scotland and Wales, with the final instalment in March.

The Chancellor was asked if he was ruling out more support for hard-up Brtions during a visit last week to a London science facility.

Mr Hunt told reporters at the event: “We constantly keep the help we can give families under review.

“But if you’re saying ‘Do I think we’re going to have the headroom to make a major new initiative to help people?’, I don’t think the situation would have changed very significantly from the Autumn Statement, which was just three months ago.”

The politician said the Government was “always” looking at fresh measures that could be introduced.

He added: “But we also have to be responsible with public finances, because if we’re not, we’ll just see interest rates go up, and people will face a different kind of cost, and that’s why we have to get that balance right.”

The minister was also asked why the rise in the Energy Price Guarantee is not halted in April.

As the policy stands, the guarantee will increase in April and then be in place for another year.

He said: “We know just how tough it is for many people dealing with these huge spikes in their energy bills.

“And that’s why we’re giving about £3,500 for the average family this year and last to help with those pressures, absolutely unprecedented support.

“We always look at what else we can do, but we also have to be responsible with public finances.”

He added: “At the same time as energy prices have come down, so too have our receipts from the windfall taxes.

“So we have to look at everything in the context of what is responsible for public finances, because if we don’t, we’ll just see interest rates go up and then everyone who has a mortgage up and down the country will face a different kind of cost.”

As part of this Autumn Statement last year, Mr Hunt announced new cost of living payments for some struggling Britons.

This included a £900 cost of living payment for those on means-tested benefits, including Universal Credit.

The money will be paid in three instalments over the coming tax year, with the first payment in Spring 2023.

Pensioners are also to get a separate £300 cost of living payment and there will be a £150 disability payment for people on certain benefits.

People on Universal Credit and other benefits are also due a payment boost in April, when payments will increase by 10.1 percent.

Analysts are predicting energy costs could fall below the Energy Price Guarantee later this year.

Predictions from Cornwall Insights for between July and September of this year forecast average gas and electricity costs to be around £2,800 a year.

Households with average energy usage are forecast to see their costs sit around £2,835 a year between October and December.

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