Boris Johnson confirms further government support for energy bills amid rising cost of living
Watch: Boris Johnson confirms further government support for energy bills
Boris Johnson has confirmed additional government support for energy bills is coming amid the escalating cost of living crisis.
The outgoing prime minister insisted that generous help for households had already been promised and confirmed his successor – Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak – would provide more.
"There’s a huge amount coming... what the government is also going to do is provide a further package of support for helping people with the cost of energy,” he said during a visit to Dorset on Tuesday.
His comments come after Ofgem announced a rise in price cap for around 24 million households in England, Scotland and Wales, sending the average yearly bill from £1,971 to £3,549.
Read more: Why rising energy bills will kill the work from home dream
Johnson highlighted the announcements already made which will see £1,200 going to the eight million most vulnerable households.
He added: “Whichever of the two candidates gets in next week, what the government is also going to do is provide a further package of support for helping people with the cost of energy.
“What we’ve got to do is get through the tough months – and I’m not going to shrink from this, it is going to be tough in the months to come, it’s going to be tough through to next year.”
The public will likely be forced to wait to find out what help they will get with Truss expected to replace outgoing Johnson in Downing Street.
Read more: UK inflation ‘could hit 22% next year’ as recession looms
Frontrunner Truss has reportedly ruled out providing further direct energy bill support for all households.
She will not be considering further schemes like the £400 energy bill rebate, which will go to every household in Great Britain with a domestic electricity connection, the BBC reported campaign team sources as saying.
Truss is instead considering targeted support for lower income households and tax cuts as mitigations against the cost of living crisis, the report said.
Her camp said she would not finalise her plans for cost-of-living help before receiving the “full support and advice” only available to the government of the day.
Leadership rival Sunak, who announced the £400 rebate scheme in May when he was chancellor, has pledged more direct support should he become PM.
His team also labelled a reported 5% VAT cut plan by Truss “regressive” and said it would cost tens of billions of pounds.
Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, said the 5% VAT cut was “inappropriate” and risked exacerbating inflation, as he also warned against slashing income tax on top of other tax cuts.
“You clearly can’t do all of this without completely crashing the public finances,” he told The Times.
Last week Martin Lewis said people would die this winter because of the energy price cap rise.
The consumer champion said the situation is a “genuine social and financial catastrophe that is putting lives at risk”, as he predicted a further 51% rise in January.
Lewis told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: “If we do not get further government intervention on top of what was announced in May, lives will be lost this winter.”
Meanwhile, an expert has warned that the UK could see power blackouts this winter due to the energy crisis.
London Energy Consulting chief executive David Cox said the government needs to find more cash to "help people through this crisis", accusing politicians of "glossing over" the problem.