POLL: Should UK subsidise energy bills of low income families?

Chancellor must act to ease cost of living crisis says Blackford

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April brings several price increases on essential utilities including energy bills and council tax, meaning many households will start to struggle more than ever. Meanwhile, many feel that the Government is not doing enough to help counteract this.

The energy price cap rise comes in on April 1 and, for 22 million households, bills will increase by £693 per year.

​​The average customer’s bill will rise from £1,277 to £1,971 and prepay customers will see an increase of £708 from £1,309 to £2,017.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak told the Daily Express yesterday: “I know people are concerned about the rising cost of living in the face of record global energy prices as we emerge from the pandemic.”

In his Spring Statement last week, he set out several support measures including an energy bill rebate, but he has been criticised for not doing more.

The £9billion plan was revealed in February and aims to “take the sting” out of price rises by taking £200 off energy bills, as well as £150 off council tax.

When speaking to the Daily Express, he added: “From October, all domestic electricity customers will receive a £200 reduction to their energy bills. The cost of this will be spread over five years when we expect global prices to have fallen back to normal levels.”

The price cap prevents energy companies from making excessive profits and ensures a fair price for consumers.

The increase reflects the unprecedented rise in gas prices and experts believe the next cap in October could push bills to £3,000 per year.

Writing for inews.co.uk in March, Paul Waugh suggested subsidising energy bills by expanding the Warm Home Discount Scheme.

This is a £140 subsidy towards energy bills for low-income households and could provide much-needed support to more people who are struggling.

Mr Sunak said: “We’ll continue to monitor how global events impact on energy bills here at home into the autumn, and will consider further support if needed.”

In an interview with the BBC, Mr Sunak said: “The biggest risk we face now is high inflation. I’m confident in what we’ve done. I know it’s tough for people.

“We’re facing a very difficult situation with the price of things going up and I want to do what we can to ameliorate some of that, but I’m also honest with people that we can’t ameliorate all of it, sadly.

“That’s difficult for people to hear and the toughest part of this job is not being able to do everything that people would like you to do, because we’re already borrowing quite a large amount of money, and I don’t think borrowing lots more would be sensible.

“Actually, it has the risk of making the problem worse when you’ve got inflation and interest rates going up.”

 So what do YOU think? Should the UK subsidise energy bills of low income families? Vote in our poll and join the debate in the comment section below.

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