Rishi Sunak defends 'universal' £400 payout to households
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Chancellor Rishi Sunak has set out a significant financial support package of emergency measures to help households manage their rising energy bills, which could reach £2,800 by the autumn, and counteract inflation. Every household will receive a £400 discount on their energy bills and eight million of the worst-off Britons will also be eligible for an additional £650 payment made in two instalments in July and the autumn.
In addition, eight million pensioner households will receive a one-off payment of £300, and six million disabled people will receive £150.
Following the package of measures, Express.co.uk ran a poll from 11am on Friday, May 27, to 11am on Tuesday, May 31, and asked readers whether they were happy with Rishi Sunak’s plan, if it was enough, if second home owners should be allowed to claim twice, and if he had actually boosted Labour’s ratings.
A total of 2,658 readers cast their votes on the question “Are you happy with Rishi Sunak’s plan to help Britons with cost of living?”, with opinion divided.
Some 51 percent (1,364 people) said “yes”, they were happy while 45 percent (1,198 people) said “no”, they were not and just four percent (96 people) said they did not know either way.
The emergency measures are being funded by borrowing an additional £10billion but Mr Sunak insisted he had a “responsible fiscal policy”.
He said: “We know that people are facing challenges with the cost of living and that is why today I’m stepping in with further support to help with rising energy bills.
“We have a collective responsibility to help those who are paying the highest price for the high inflation we face. That is why I’m targeting this significant support to millions of the most vulnerable people in our society.
“I said we would stand by people and that is what this support does today.”
However, his announcement in the House of Commons last Thursday was met with heckles and shouts of “what took you so long” and “about time”.
Next, Express.co.uk asked: “Should Rishi Sunak be allowing second home owners to claim £400 grant twice?”
Overall, 2,669 people voted and the overwhelming majority, 93 percent (2,474 people), said “no”, second home owners should not be allowed to claim twice.
A further six percent (163 people) said “yes” and one percent (32 people) said they did not know.
Mr Sunak’s plan means each property will save £400 on their energy bills and The Treasury confirms no restrictions are in place on benefitting from multiple handouts.
Express.co.uk also asked: “Has Rishi Sunak boosted Labour’s ratings after the announcement?”
This question gathered 2,654 votes with the most popular response — 49 percent (1,301 people) — being “no”, Mr Sunak has not boosted Labour’s ratings.
Meanwhile, 30 percent (792 people) said “yes”, and 21 percent (561 people) said they did not know.
Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said the Conservatives had been dragged “kicking and screaming” into backing Labour’s plans.
Finally, Express.co.uk asked: “Is the help enough to help you with the cost of living crisis?”
A total of 2,661 people answered this question and the majority of respondents, 57 percent (1,515 people), said “no”, the measures were not enough to help.
Some 32 percent (839 people) said “yes”, it was enough support and 12 percent (307 people) said they did not know.
Dozens of comments were left below the accompanying article as readers shared their opinions on Mr Sunak’s emergency measures.
One reader, username John London, said: “Mr Sunak, why should only some get the most financial support when all householders are affected by the high bills. All bill payers should be equally helped.”
Username AgendaTen said: “If all that is on offer are derisory one-off payments then no, this will have virtually no effect on those truly struggling with the cost of living.”
And username Wolveshuskies wrote: “No, it is not enough.”
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Others thought that second home owners should not be allowed to claim multiple times.
Username Williamneilson said: “If you can afford a second home you can damn well pay your own bills on it!”
And username MrsMitchell said: “Second home owners should only receive the money on their primary residences.”
However, some were grateful for any additional support provided with username Kodakman writing: “It’s a start.”
Another, username The taxilady, said: “Yes, better than nothing, which is what we got in the Eighties and Nineties.”
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