Energy bills news: Sunak U-turns with £400 grant for families and windfall tax

·55-min read

Millions of households will receive a £400 discount on their energy bills, and a £5bn tax will be levied on oil and gas giants as Rishi Sunak moved to counter the soaring cost of living.

The chancellor was forced to unveil emergency measures as part of a £15bn package to tackle the impact of soaring inflation, which has reached a 40-year high.

Measures include a £650 payment for 8 million of the worst-off households, a one-off £300 payment to 8 million pensioner households and £150 each to 6 million disabled people.

The plans will be funded by around £10bn of extra borrowing, but Mr Sunak insisted he had a “responsible fiscal policy”.

Mr Sunak also scrapped his £200 energy bills loan, replacing it instead with a £400 grant, available to all households. He said that tax breaks for innovation would ensure the windfall tax did not reduce investment in green power.

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said Mr Sunak’s announcement showed the Labour Party was “winning the battle of ideas”, adding: “This government’s dither and delay is costing the country dearly.”

As he began his statement to MPs, Mr Sunak was heckled with shouts of “what took you so long” and “about time”.

Key Points

  • Chancellor announces £650 payment to 8 million people on benefits

  • What else has Rishi Sunak announced in his £15bn cost of living package?

  • Labour ‘winning battle of ideas’, shadow chancellor says

  • Arguments for windfall tax ‘tested rigorously’ Tory source says

  • Exclusive: Majority of voters support windfall tax, poll shows

Thursday 26 May 2022 07:37 , Andy Gregory

Good morning, we’ll be using this liveblog to bring you the latest updates today on the cost of living crisis, with Rishi Sunak expected to announce a new package of support in the Commons at 11:30.

Arguments for windfall tax ‘tested rigorously’, Tory source says

Thursday 26 May 2022 07:43 , Andy Gregory

Rishi Sunak is reportedly expected to scrap his £200 energy bills loan and replace it with a grant worth up to £400.

In order to fund this he is expected to announce a windfall tax – despite weeks of strong opposition to the idea from himself, Boris Johnson and many within Cabinet due to its impact on investment.

My colleague Joe Middleton reports that a Tory source said yesterday that the arguments had been “tested rigorously” within both the Treasury and wider government.

“There’s a high threshold that any package that we bring forward delivers more gain than pain, that the gain is worth the pain, that it does not jeopardise the investment,” he said. “You don’t introduce random taxes that make the economic environment unpredictable.”

You can read more details here:

Energy bills to be cut ‘by up to £400’ under Sunak support plan

What did Boris Johnson say yesterday about cost of living?

Thursday 26 May 2022 07:53 , Andy Gregory

The subject of the cost of living crisis was raised at yesterday at the Downing Street press conference called by Boris Johnson following the publication of Sue Gray’s report into the Partygate scandal.

The prime minister acknowledged households “are going to see pressures for a while to come” as a result of the spike in global energy prices and supply chain problems following the pandemic.

Warning that the hundreds of billions poured in to dealing with the Covid pandemic had left a “very difficult fiscal position”, he said: “We will continue to respond, just as we responded throughout the pandemic.

“It won’t be easy, we won’t be able to fix everything. But what I would also say is we will get through it and we will get through it well.”

Exclusive: Majority of UK public supports windfall tax, poll shows

Thursday 26 May 2022 08:07 , Andy Gregory

The majority of voters support a windfall tax on energy firms that would be used to help those struggling with the cost of living crisis, according to new polling shared with The Independent.

Almost two thirds – 63 per cent – of the UK public support the idea of a one-off levy on energy giants, which reported bumper profits this month thanks to surging oil and gas prices, according to a new poll commissioned by environmental think tank Green Alliance.

Sixty-six per cent of those who voted for the Conservative Party in the 2019 election said they were in favour of a windfall tax, the same proportion of those who voted for the Labour Party, according to the poll conducted by Public First.

Only seven per cent of those polled opposed the tax, while 30 per cent said they neither opposed nor supported the tax or didn’t know. The poll, carried out between 13 and 18 May, asked 2005 people weighted by age, gender, region and social status to nationally representative proportions.

You can read the full report, from our climate correspondent Saphora Smith, here:

Majority of Tory voters support windfall tax, poll shows

How much could a windfall tax raise?

Thursday 26 May 2022 08:21 , Andy Gregory

The Labour Party has estimated that a windfall tax on oil and gas firms’ profits could raise some £1.2bn for the Treasury, however this figure is only a fraction of the extra costs people in the UK face this year.

While Rishi Sunak had previously been averse to a windfall tax, The Times reports that the chancellor is now looking to bring in a much broader tax on energy generators, including wind farm operators, who have benefited from high prices.

While it would reportedly target £10bn of “excess profits”, it remains unclear how much this would raise for the Treasury. But overall, the government is thought to be mulling a spending package of as much as £10bn.

However, according to the Resolution Foundation think tank, Mr Sunak needs to spend £15bn to help people on lower incomes through the cost of living crisis.

Our business reporter Ben Chapman has more details on what to potentially expect in the chancellor’s support package in this comprehensive report:

Cost of living crisis: What time will Rishi Sunak unveil his windfall tax plan?

UK needs long-term investment to tackle soaring energy costs, Lisa Nandy says

Thursday 26 May 2022 08:46 , Andy Gregory

Labour’s Lisa Nandy has criticised Rishi Sunak for failing to back a plan to retrofit homes, which she said would have cut saved households hundreds of pounds each year, and urged the chancellor to go further than a windfall tax, including by uprating benefits.

The shadow levelling up secretary told BBC Breakfast: “The long-term plan that this country desperately needs has got to involve investing in things like retrofitting homes. This week the chancellor had the opportunity to back that, that would have cut £400 off people's energy bills every year, that would help people this year, next year, the year after that, that is the long-term plan that this country needs.

“We've been urging the government to come forward and make those investments and make those commitments. They had an opportunity to do it this week. They ducked it again, it's about time that we had a government that backed its people and started investing in the people in this country.”

She suggested a number of further proposals beyond a windfall tax, saying that Labour’s plan would “knock up to £600 off energy bills for those who most need it”.

Ms Nandy added: “He could also do other things that we've been calling for, like bringing forward benefits uprating, not waiting till the autumn to catch up with soaring inflation rates and get help to people now.

“Every pound that goes back into people's pockets will make a huge difference. So we hope that what we're going to finally see is less dither and delay, more real action, money back into people's pockets, and help for people who are struggling right now.”

Boris Johnson ‘focused’ on cost of living crisis, No 10 chief of staff insists

Thursday 26 May 2022 08:53 , Andy Gregory

Downing Street's chief of staff has insisted that Boris Johnson is “focused” on dealing with the cost of living crisis.

Asked on Sky News this morning in light of the Partygate scandal whether the prime minister tells lies, chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Steve Barclay said: “No he doesn’t.”

He added: “I work very closely with him. He is focused on our response to Ukraine. He is focused on the huge challenge economically for families, for your viewers, in terms of the cost of energy, the cost of food, he is getting on with the job.”

Cost of living announcement not intended as distraction from Partygate, minister says

Thursday 26 May 2022 09:15 , Andy Gregory

Boris Johnson’s chief of staff has insisted that Rishi Sunak’s announcement on the cost of living today is not intended as a distraction from the Partygate scandal, and was instead prompted by a warning that the energy price cap will rise by a further £830 in October.

“In terms of the timing, firstly we don't control the timing of the Sue Gray report. The timing of that is shaped by the Met Police investigation,” Steve Barclay told Sky News.

“What we've always said is, in terms of the fiscal response, we wanted to see from the Ofgem guidance what the full impact would be in the autumn on families so that we can get the design of that package right.

“We've had that guidance this week from Ofgem. That is why the chancellor is coming forward today. It's also in terms of parliament and the parliamentary timetable.”

But Labour’s shadow levelling up secretary Lisa Nandy suggested that the government’s sudden decision to act matched a previous pattern of behaviour.

“I strongly suspect there will be action today – it’s been breached into the papers – but also because, several times over the last few months, the prime minister has taken action when he’s been in real trouble in order to distract from the troubles in government,” Ms Nandy told the broadcaster.

Minister avoids confirming whether Sunak will announce windfall tax

Thursday 26 May 2022 09:31 , Andy Gregory

A minister has avoided confirming whether Rishi Sunak will announce a windfall tax on energy giants’ profits later this morning, saying he would not discuss details of the statement ahead of its announcement to the House of Commons.

Steve Barclay, the chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, told BBC Breakfast that the Tories disagreed with the Labour Party’s proposal of a windfall tax because of “the risk to inward investment”.

But Mr Barclay added: “What I can tell you is we have said we recognise there's a significant challenge coming this autumn. We need to take targeted action to address that.

He added: “What the chancellor will set out is how we do that through looking at the balance ... and how you do that in a way that also recognises we do need a long-term monetary strategy, and one that attracts inward investment.”

Sunak urged to provide ‘real action’ on cost of living

Thursday 26 May 2022 09:52 , Andy Gregory

Lisa Nandy has said she hopes to see “real action” in chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement on the cost of living crisis this morning.

“We've been told for months by the chancellor and the prime minister that it's not possible to bring in a windfall tax, but the numbers don't add up. But it turns out that they do,” the shadow levelling up, housing and communities secretary told Times Radio.

“And I hope that what we're going to see from the chancellor today is real action to knock money off people's energy bills by imposing a windfall tax, a one-off levy on the big profits of the big oil and gas producers that doesn’t just help everybody.

“We want to see money targeted at those who most need it, up to £600 of everybody's energy bills, and a cut to VAT on energy, which would also help to exert a downward pressure on the soaring inflation rates that are crippling families and businesses around the country.”

500,000 more pensioners could be plunged into poverty by energy price cap rise

Thursday 26 May 2022 10:04 , Andy Gregory

Vulnerable elderly people face choosing between “crushing levels of debt” or living in cold homes put themselves at risk of worsening health conditions, fuel poverty campaigners have warned.

The grim forecast came as analysis of Ofgem’s estimate that the energy price cap will rise to £2,800 in October suggested that, in that event, single pensioners would be forced to spend more than a fifth of their income after housing costs on gas and electricity.

National Energy Action warned that the rise would plunge more than half a million pensioners into fuel poverty, taking the total number to 2.5 million.

Our business reporter Ben Chapman has the full story here:

Elderly people choose between heating and eating as bills surge

Sunak ‘dragged kicking and screaming’ to a U-turn, shadow chancellor claims

Thursday 26 May 2022 10:28 , Andy Gregory

Labour’s shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves has claimed that Rishi Sunak has been “dragged kicking and screaming” to a U-turn on a windfall tax, which is expected in his announcement in the Commons this morning.

“Why have families had to struggle and worry while he dragged his feet?” Ms Reeves asked.

The chancellor had previously resisted calls to spend more money, arguing that it would be “silly” to do so now when energy bills would not be going up again until October, but had appeared to soften his stance on a windfall tax in recent weeks, saying he was “pragmatic” about the possibility.

Charity urges government to raise state pensions and benefits in line with inflation

Thursday 26 May 2022 10:44 , Andy Gregory

Age UK has urged the government to increase benefits payments and state pensions to keep them in line with inflation.

The charity has warned that two million older households won’t have enough to cover their essential spending over the next year, and is calling for a targeted one-off payment to older people on the lowest incomes so they can afford to heat their homes and eat adequately.

One pensioner said: “My husband and I are both on the basic state pension. I am disabled and on lower rate PIP and he has Raynaud’s Syndrome, which means he must keep warm at all times.

“We can’t afford to get out much, especially now with heavy petrol increases. With the triple lock gone and food also escalating we are just having to eat less and less. Sometimes dinner is just biscuits.”

Our business reporter Ben Chapman has more details here:

Elderly people choose between heating and eating as bills surge

Sunak must be ‘terribly careful’ not to fuel inflation, IFS director warns

Thursday 26 May 2022 10:59 , Andy Gregory

While support for the poorest households is “very much needed”, Rishi Sunak must be “terribly careful” not to make the current levels of inflation “much more permanent”, the director of the IFS has warned.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4 ahead of the chancellor’s announcement, Paul Johnson said: “For the poorest households it’s certainly very much needed. It’s extraordinarily hard to cope with that kind of increase in your energy bills and general inflation, not least because benefits have only risen 3pc this year.

“Whether it’s needed for all households I think is more of a difficult point ... Inflation is not at the moment being created by demand and too much money in the British economy – it’s mostly being created by external energy shocks.

“What the government and the Bank need to be terribly careful about is they don’t make that permanent by having policy which is too loose, which is one reason why I would certainly want to see most of the support targeted at the lowest income households.”

He added: “Putting tens of billions into the economy at a time of high inflation could stoke additional demand and make the inflation much more permanent in the economy.”

Opinion | The windfall tax won’t cover the high energy bills coming our way

Thursday 26 May 2022 11:14 , Andy Gregory

Sunny Hundal, deputy editor of Independent Voices, has likened Rishi Sunak’s looming energy bills rebate to “going to A&E and being told you’ll finally get a sticking plaster for your gushing wound”, with the expected £400 grant merely enough to “stem a bit of the bleeding” when compared with the forecast rise in energy bills.

He writes: “And this isn’t even the last we have seen of price rises. The price of oil and gas is expected to rise even further as China slowly comes out of Covid lockdowns (which will raise demand again), and the war in Ukraine carries on. Putin has gained immensely by dragging on the war as the sky-high prices for oil, gas and other commodities (such as wheat) continue bringing him a huge windfall.

“The British government has an opportunity to bring down energy prices – so why does it refuse to take them?”

You can read his thinking in full here:

Opinion: The windfall tax won’t cover the high energy bills coming our way

Thursday 26 May 2022 11:25 , Andy Gregory

Rishi Sunak is due up shortly in the House of Commons...

Chancellor is above ‘knee-jerk reactions and political gimmicks’, minister says

Thursday 26 May 2022 11:35 , Andy Gregory

Speaking ahead of Rishi Sunak’s announcement in the Commons, chancellor for the Duchy of Lancaster Steve Barclay has told MPs that he does not know what the chancellor is set to announce.

“What I do know, is this is a chancellor of the exchequer who has already announced £22bn worth of support ... who, instead of knee-jerk reactions and political gimmicks, thinks through the economic and fiscal plans that he is going to bring forward, and makes sure the plans that he does bring forward bring geniune support to those people that need it but does not disincentivise people from making long-term investments to continue to pay the exchequer the tax from their successful businesses,” he said.

Sunak to announce ‘£600 lump-sum payment for millions of households’

Thursday 26 May 2022 12:02 , Andy Gregory

While we’re still waiting for Rishi Sunak’s announcement, The Times’ political editor reports that the chancellor will announce lump-sum payments worth up to £600 for 8.4 million households on means-tested benefits – in addition to a new £400 energy bill discount for every household.

Steven Swinford reports that Mr Sunak’s package is thought to be in excess of £30bn, and that while government sources are downplaying the total, Downing Street wishes to avoid accusations of not doing enough to help people through the crisis.

Sunak begins announcement

Thursday 26 May 2022 12:22 , Andy Gregory

Rishi Sunak is up. He begins by saying the “the high inflation we are experiencing now is causing acute distress for the people of this country”.

“I know they are worried. I know people are struggling,” he said. “I want to explain what is happening, why it is happening, and what we propose to do about it.”

Crisis is ‘a springboard for economic renewal and growth’, chancellor insists

Thursday 26 May 2022 12:26 , Andy Gregory

Rishi Sunak says that he trusts the British people “understand no government can solve every problem, particularly the complex and global challenge of inflation”.

But, he says, “this government will never stop trying to help people, to fix problems where we can, to do what is right, as we did throughout the pandemic.

“We need to make sure that for those whom the struggle is too hard, and for whom the risks are too great, they are supported. This government will not sit idly by whilst there is a risk that some in our country might be set so far back they might never recover.

This is simply unacceptable and we will never allow that to happen.”

The chancellor insists “we will get through this”, adding: “We have the tools and the determination we need to combat and reduce inflation ... We will turn this moment of difficulty into a springboard for economic renewal and growth, with more jobs, higher skills, greater investment – our plan for a stronger economy.”

‘We can get inflation under control,’ Sunak insists

Thursday 26 May 2022 12:32 , Andy Gregory

Rishi Sunak next lays out “some context” for “the challenge we face”.

The UK is experiencing the highest rate of inflation for 40 years. The Bank of England expects inflation to average around 9 per cent this year. “Our exposure to global shocks continues to explain most of the inflation above the 2 per cent target,” he says, citing supply chain disruption as the world reeled from Covid, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and recent lockdowns in China.

“However, over the course of the year, the situation has evolved and has become more serious,” he adds. There are areas of particular concern. Even excluding energy and food, core inflation has become broader-based and elevated. Of the basket of goods and services we use to measure inflation, a record proportion are seeing above-average price increases.

“Also we are acutely exposed to the European energy price shock, and like the US, we also have a tight labour market.”

While the UK’s low unemployment rate “is good news”, it is also contributing to the inflation crisis, he says. Longer-term inflation expectations have risen above their historical averages by more than they are in the US and Europe, he says.

He insists “we can get inflation under control”, adding: “It is not some abstract force outside our grasp. It may take time but we have the tools we need and the resolve it will take.”

Sunak confirms U-turn on windfall tax

Thursday 26 May 2022 12:37 , Andy Gregory

Rishi Sunak has confirmed a temporary windfall tax on oil and gas giants, but said it would include a “new investment allowance” to incentivise the reinvestment of profits.

The chancellor said the new levy would raise around £5bn over the next year.

He was heckled with shouts of “what took you so long” and “about time” after he began his statement by noting that high inflation is causing “acute distress” for people in the country.

Eight million households to receive one-off payment of £650

Thursday 26 May 2022 12:44 , Andy Gregory

Rishi Sunak has announced that around 8 million of the lowest income households will be sent a one-off payment of £650.

Pensioners will receive a one-off £300 payment, while there will also be a one-off disability cost of living payment of £150.

Sunak U-turns on energy bills loan

Thursday 26 May 2022 12:48 , Andy Gregory

Confirming earlier reports, Rishi Sunak has scrapped the £200 energy bills loan in favour of a grant of £400 which will not have to be paid back.

Support will be delivered on same terms across UK, Sunak says

Thursday 26 May 2022 12:49 , Andy Gregory

Rishi Sunak has said he will legislate to provide support on the same terms across all of the UK including Northern Ireland.

He said he recognised that with any policy “there may be small numbers of people who will fall between the cracks”, giving people on housing benefit who are not also claiming other benefits as a possible example.

He said to support them and others “we will extend the household support fund delivered by local authorities by half a billion pounds from October”.

Mr Sunak said: “This is a significant set of interventions to support the most vulnerable in our country.

“We will legislate to deliver this support on the same terms in every part of the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland.”

What Rishi Sunak has announced to tackle the cost of living crisis

Thursday 26 May 2022 12:53 , Andy Gregory

Our political editor Andrew Woodock has this comprehensive report on the chancellor’s new £15bn cost of living package:

What Rishi Sunak announced to tackle the cost of living crisis

The UK can ‘trust this government’, Sunak says

Thursday 26 May 2022 12:57 , Andy Gregory

Rishi Sunak has said the British people can “trust this government” because “we have a plan for a stronger economy”.

The chancellor said: “I know that there are other pressures. I am not trying to claim we have solved the entire problem for everyone. No government could.

“But I hope that when people hear the significant steps we are taking, the millions we are helping, they will feel some of the burden eased. Some of the pressures lifted, and they will know this Government is standing by them.”

He concluded his speech saying: “Supporting people with the cost of living is only one part of our plan for a stronger economy. A plan that is creating more jobs, cutting taxes on working people reducing our borrowing and debt, driving businesses to invest and innovate more, unleashing a skills revolution, seizing the benefits of Brexit and levelling up growth in all parts of the United Kingdom.

“The British people can trust this government because we have a plan for a stronger economy.

Sunak’s new support package ‘hugely redistributive’, IFS director says

Thursday 26 May 2022 12:59 , Andy Gregory

Paul Johnson, director of the IFS, described Rishi Sunak’s new support package as “hugely redistributive”.

But he said it was “disappointing to hear the chancellor again conclude by claiming to be cutting taxes”, adding: “He emphatically is not. He is raising them, and to historically high levels.

“I think that is the right thing to do. But his tax plan is to raise taxes not, as he keeps saying, to cut them.”

Labour ‘winning the battle of ideas in Britain’, Rachel Reeves says

Thursday 26 May 2022 13:01 , Andy Gregory

Labour’s shadow chancellor has declared that the Labour Party is winning “the battle of ideas in Britain”.

Responding to Rishi Sunak’s announcement in the Commons, Rachel Reeves told MPs: “Today, it feels like the chancellor has finally realised the problems the country are facing. We first called for a windfall tax on oil and gas producers nearly five months ago to help struggling families and pensioners.

“Today, he has announced that policy but he can’t dare say the words: it’s a policy that dare not speak its name with this chancellor.

“And it was Labour that first highlighted the unfairness of this government buy now, pay later compulsory loan scheme. It shouldn’t have taken a rocket scientist to work out that this wouldn’t cut and we pointed it out at the time.”

Oil and gas sector making ‘extraordinary profits’, Sunak says

Thursday 26 May 2022 13:04 , Andy Gregory

Here is more from Rishi Sunak’s rationale for the windfall tax on oil and gas firms’ profits.

The chancellor told MPs: “The oil and gas sector is making extraordinary profits, not as the result of recent changes to risk-taking or innovation or efficiency, but as the result of surging global commodity prices driven in part by Russia’s war.

“For that reason I am sympathetic to the argument to tax those profits fairly.”

Mr Sunak also said: “It is possible to both tax extraordinary profits fairly and incentivise investment.”

Government’s ‘dither and delay has cost country dearly’, Rachel Reeves says

Thursday 26 May 2022 13:06 , Andy Gregory

The government's “dither and delay has cost our country dearly”, Labour’s shadow chancellor has said.

Rachel Reeves told the Commons: “Here he is once again, the Treasury's one-man rebuttal unit, the chancellor himself.

“For months it has been clear that more was necessary to help people bring their bills down. So what took this government so long? Every day that they have refused to act, £53m more added to Britain's household bills during this cost-of-living crisis.”

She added: “This government's dither and delay has cost our country dearly.

“On this side of the House, we welcome the fact that the government is finally acting on our calls to introduce a windfall tax. And it is good to see the SNP U-turning today, too, and saying they are also in favour of a windfall tax on oil and gas profits. Well done to the SNP.”

Lib Dem leader criticises Sunak

Thursday 26 May 2022 13:08 , Andy Gregory

The Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey has attacked the chancellor as “like a thief who steals your car and then wants you to be grateful when he returns the steering wheel”.

Rachel Reeves attacks Boris Johnson over windfall tax U-turn

Thursday 26 May 2022 13:10 , Andy Gregory

Conservative MPs cannot trust Boris Johnson after his government announced a new oil and gas windfall tax, Labour’s shadow chancellor has said.

Rachel Reeves said: “Every day for five months, the prime minister sent Conservative MPs out to attack the windfall tax and yet defends an increase in taxes on working people.

“He has made them vote against it not once, not twice, but three times – and for months he has sent his MPs to defend the litany of rule-breaking in Number 10 Downing Street set out in the Sue Gray report yesterday.

“There is a lesson here for Conservative MPs – you can't believe a word that this prime minister says.”

She added: “Labour called for a windfall tax because it is the right thing to do. The Conservatives are doing it because they needed a new headline.”

One-off payments will ‘stimulate the economy’, senior Tory MP says

Thursday 26 May 2022 13:14 , Andy Gregory

The Conservative chair of the Treasury Select Committee has said she welcomes Rishi Sunak’s announcement “broadly”.

Mel Stride told MPs: “It is a very significant intervention that [the chancellor] has made, channelling billions of pounds in a targeted series of transfer payments to those who most need it.

“Similar approaches were taken in the pandemic, there were many who missed out from support, who fell through the gaps, I note the additional increase in the household fund of half-a-billion, which is welcome.”

Mr Stride said the transfer payments will “stimulate the economy, granted they will come with some tax increases as well”.

Payment of £650 to go directly to people’s bank accounts

Thursday 26 May 2022 13:17 , Andy Gregory

Rishi Sunak has said that the payment of £650 to be received by roughly 8 million households will be made by the Department for Work and Pensions in two lump sums.

“The first from July, the second in autumn, with payments from HMRC for those on tax credits following shortly after,” the chancellor said.

Mr Sunak said the payments will be sent straight to people’s bank accounts.

Shadow chancellor urges Rishi Sunak to adopt ‘big Brexit bonus'

Thursday 26 May 2022 13:21 , Andy Gregory

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves has asked the government to adopt more of Labour’s ideas to help with the cost-of-living crisis.

She told the Commons: “I know that the chancellor has adopted two of our ideas today, but can I ask why he has not adopted a third – a cut in VAT on energy bills? It was once touted as the ‘big Brexit bonus’, but he has ditched that too.”

Ms Reeves claimed government policies rarely lasted “more than a few months”, adding: “We pushed for a windfall tax, they adopted it. We said the buy now, pay later scheme was wrong and now they have ditched it.”

Ms Reeves also asked the chancellor whether households would still need to pay supplier-of-last-resort costs for electricity suppliers who had “gone bust”.

Tory former minister says ‘we need to think about tax burden in years ahead'

Thursday 26 May 2022 13:39 , Andy Gregory

Conservative former cabinet minister Robert Jenrick has said “we need to think about the tax burden” in the years ahead because Rishi Sunak’s announcement is “heavily redistributive”.

Mr Jenrick told MPs that the chancellor had made “all the right judgements” on providing support for the poorest households in the face of a “period of extreme hardship”, but warned that a “steady hand” was needed from the Bank of England to “inject some confidence into the economy which is facing a recession or a long-period of stagnation”.

He said: “We do need the supply-side reforms that he alludes to urgently, we need delivery on the energy plan that the chancellor and the prime minister have set out, and we need to think about the tax burden in the years ahead because the announcement he has made today is heavily redistributive.

“And that’s a good thing for hard-working families and the vulnerable but it is being paid for by higher taxes on higher earners and businesses and in the long-term we need to address that.”

Measures ‘not enough’ to help poorest in UK, SNP says

Thursday 26 May 2022 13:42 , Andy Gregory

Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s £15bn economic support package is “not enough” to help the poorest in society, the SNP has said.

“It’s quite amusing to hear the Chancellor talk about this being ‘timely’,” SNP work and pensions spokeswoman Kirsty Blackman told MPs.

“I mean it is timely it just happens to have happened in the week of the Sue Gray report, it just happens that that report came out yesterday and the Chancellor has suddenly realised today that people are really struggling, that he’s suddenly realised he needs to announce something about it.”

Ms Blackman added: “I don’t understand why he has announced only a £15bn package. He has got £28bn of fiscal headroom in public sector net debt, he has got £32bn of fiscal headroom in balancing the current budget, those are the OBR’s figures from March.

“Yet he is refusing to spend that money now in the timely, targeted way that it is needed now for people.”

Mr Sunak, in his reply, said: “I know for some people it’ll never be enough but that’s why the SNP’s plans would leave Scotland with, I think, a 20 per cent budget deficit and bankrupt the country; that’s not something we will ever do for the people of Scotland or the United Kingdom.”

Tory former energy minister welcomes ‘proportionate’ windfall tax

Thursday 26 May 2022 13:43 , Andy Gregory

A former energy minister and Conservative backbencher has welcomed the announcement of a windfall tax on oil and gas companies.

Chris Skidmore, MP for Kingswood and chairman of the all party parliamentary group on the environment, said: “The levy today on oil and gas is proportionate to the supernormal profits they are taking and the challenge ordinary households face.

“At the same time, investment in green technologies of the future is being protected, which is welcome.”

He added: “The government is recognising the only viable long-term plan to cut emissions and cut bills is net zero. Moving forward, we should look at a new multi-annual net zero fund to help get off volatile gas, support renewables, insulate homes, and keep energy bills down permanently.”

Sunak announcement ‘another missed opportunity’, Sadiq Khan says

Thursday 26 May 2022 13:49 , Andy Gregory

Sadiq Khan has described Rishi Sunak’s announcement today as “another missed opportunity to prove the Tories are truly serious about tackling this cost of living crisis”.

The London mayor said there was “so much more” the government could do to help people, including handing him powers to freeze private rents in London.

Sunak’s ‘belated’ announcement leaves millions of families uncertain of future, says IPPR

Thursday 26 May 2022 13:59 , Andy Gregory

Rishi Sunak is “belatedly rising to cost of living challenge” but has left millions of families uncertain of the future, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has said.

The think-tank welcomed the “commonsense U-turn” on a windfall tax, but said that tax breaks for North Sea investment point in wrong direction – and warned that the benefit uplift should be permanently “baked in” so that millions of households don’t face repeated uncertainty.

Rachel Statham, IPPR’s associate director for work and the welfare state, said that Mr Sunak had needed to meet three tests on his measures to increase household support.

On when the support went far enough to plug the hole in families’ budgets, Ms Statham said: “Yes – for now”, also pointing to a “welcome change of direction” in support reaching those who need it most.

But on the question of whether the support represented “a sticking plaster or a safety net”, Ms Statham said: “This is a living standards crisis of historic proportions – and those on the lowest incomes are most exposed. We need to see support that can keep families afloat not just this year, but into the future.

“Today’s measures offer temporary relief, but any long-term solution must ensure our social safety net is fit for purpose.”

Measures are ‘too little, too late’, Lib Dem spokesperson says

Thursday 26 May 2022 14:04 , Andy Gregory

Rishi Sunak’s measures are “too little, too late”, the Liberal Democrat Treasury spokeswoman has said.

Christine Jardine told MPs: “Finally, after months of families in this country, proud families in this country who have never needed help before, crying out for help from this chancellor, for pensioners who were sitting in cold houses in the winter because they couldn't afford to heat them, for all those people, for those families unable to put food on the table, this has come as too little, too late.”

Citing her party’s previous calls for a windfall tax, Ms Jardine called on the chancellor to listen when ideas are suggested “that would help the people of this country rather than hike up their taxes”.

Mr Sunak responded that “70 per cent of those in work will pay less tax this year than they did last year because of the changes we've made”, adding: “Now is the time to act because we have more certainty over what the price cap in the autumn will be.”

Windfall tax ‘will damage investment needed for energy security and net zero’

Thursday 26 May 2022 14:08 , Andy Gregory

While helping struggling households “is the right thing to do”, the windfall tax on oil and gas firms’ profits will hamper the investment needed for the UK’s energy security and net-zero aims, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has warned.

The body’s chief economist, Rain Newton-Smith, said: “Helping people facing real hardship amid one of the worst cost-of-living crunches in recent memory is the right thing to do.

“Despite the investment incentive, the open-ended nature of the energy profits levy – and the potential to bring electricity generation into scope – will be damaging to investment needed for energy security and net zero ambitions.

“It sends the wrong signal to the whole sector at the wrong time against a backdrop of rising business taxation elsewhere. The government must work with business on a genuine plan for increasing business investment and get growth going again, particularly in areas like energy efficiency.”

Tory MP quizzes Sunak on why Japan and Switzerland have escaped inflation rise

Thursday 26 May 2022 14:11 , Andy Gregory

Tory former minister Sir Desmond Swayne has asked Rishi Sunak what “difference in monetary policy has protected Japan and Switzerland from the levels of inflation” encountered in the UK, US and the rest of Europe.

The chancellor replied: “Japan as he will appreciate is a very particular case but even there, they are experiencing their highest inflation rates relative in many, many years.

“With regard to Switzerland, the reason is a couple of things. One is a strong, particularly strong Swiss franc, which happens at times like this, but also a very different mix of energy, which I believe is provided overwhelmingly by hydro-nuclear from memory, but it’s a completely different energy mix, which means that they suffer less from the shock that we are experiencing.”

Tory MP warns Sunak against ‘throwing red meat to socialists'

Thursday 26 May 2022 14:15 , Andy Gregory

A Tory MP has warned Rishi Sunak against “throwing red meat to socialists by raising taxes on businesses and telling them where to invest their money”, warning this is “not the Conservative way of encouraging those who create our prosperity and jobs to do just that”.

Richard Drax asked the chancellor whether he agreed that “by setting this bar, we’re in danger – were we ever to lose power – of allowing the socialists to raise it, which they would do with relish, again and again and again”.

Mr Sunak said he believed a “pragmatic and compassionate Conservative government would act to provide support to the most vulnerable at a time of acute need, and a fiscally responsible government would look to try to fund as much of that as possible in as fair a way as possible”.

Earlier, the chancellor had said that the government’s cost-of-living support measures were “more generous” than those called for by Labour.

Windfall taxes in place until prices hit more normal level, Sunak says

Thursday 26 May 2022 14:18 , Andy Gregory

The windfall tax will be in place until “prices return to a more normal level”, Rishi Sunak has said.

Mr Sunak told the Commons: “We will put a backstop sunset clause in the legislation with the energy profits levy. It’ll remain in place until prices return to a more normal level.”

What is a windfall tax and what does it mean for me?

Thursday 26 May 2022 15:03 , Jane Dalton

Saphora Smith explains exactly what the chancellor’s announcement means for everyone:

What is a windfall tax and what does it mean for me?

Tory MP calls for minimum wage rise beyond inflation

Thursday 26 May 2022 15:06 , Jane Dalton

Conservative MP John Baron called for the government to raise minimum wages ahead of inflation and scrap the corporation tax increase to help fund the measure.

The MP for Basildon and Billericay said: “The Chancellor and the Government’s absolutely right to recognise that more needs to be done. But I would suggest to him also that generally lower taxes bring forward greater prosperity over the medium- to longer term.

“Given that inflation is going to be less transitory than many believe... will the Chancellor give consideration to raising the minimum wages ahead of inflation to help the lowest paid, given we have record low unemployment, whilst scrapping the corporation tax increases to help industry pay for that?”

Rishi Sunak said: “I’m proud that the minimum wage has gone up this year significantly, putting £1,000 extra into people’s pay cheques, and actually we have a target long term to increase it to two-thirds of median earnings, which will ensure that it does tend to rise faster than inflation in normal times.

“But I’m happy to work with him on making that happen.”

Businesses and unions condemn Sunak’s steps

Thursday 26 May 2022 15:12 , Jane Dalton

Businesses and unions have attacked the chancellor’s announcements for different reasons.

Rain Newton-Smith, the CBI’s chief economist, said helping people facing real hardship amid one of the worst cost-of-living crunches in recent memory was the right thing to do.

But she added: “Despite the investment incentive, the open-ended nature of the energy profits levy, and the potential to bring electricity generation into scope, will be damaging to investment needed for energy security and net zero ambitions.

“It sends the wrong signal to the whole sector at the wrong time against a backdrop of rising business taxation elsewhere.”

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The Chancellor should have acted far sooner after his inadequate spring statement. His dither and delay has caused unnecessary hardship and worry for millions.

“The government still doesn’t have a plan for giving families long-term financial security.

“With energy bills rising 23 times faster than wages we urgently need to get pay packets rising and to pay universal credit at a permanently higher rate - not just a one-off boost.”

Kitty Ussher, chief economist at the Institute of Directors, said: “Ultimately, what is good for household confidence is also good for the economy as a whole.

“However, it is still the case that high energy prices are causing huge concern for business leaders.”

Hannah Essex, Co-Executive Director of the British Chambers of Commerce said: “Unless steps are also taken to ease business costs, they will likely [sic] feed into the inflationary pressure on the economy and quickly eat into the financial support announced today.

“A change of course is needed now. If the government does not act quickly, then rising costs will put our economy in a stranglehold.”

Manuel Cortes, Transport Salaried Staffs Association General Secretary, said: “This package although somewhat late is welcome, but we need an emergency budget to deal with the cost-of-living crisis to ensure that no-one is left behind.”

How to get the new £650 energy bill grant

Thursday 26 May 2022 15:18 , Jane Dalton

Amont the chancellor’s new measures is a one-off payment of £650 for 8 million families on benefits to ease the pressure of rising energy bills.

The sum will be applied to those on Universal Credit, Tax Credits, Pension Credit, and legacy benefits from July. Zaina Alibhai explains that those eligible should receive it automatically:

How you can get the government’s new £650 energy bill grant

Shell ‘recognises burden of rising bills'

Thursday 26 May 2022 15:22 , Jane Dalton

A spokesman for oil giant Shell said: “We have consistently emphasised the importance of a stable environment for long-term investment.

“This is fundamental to our aim to invest between £20billion and £25billion in the UK in the next decade, mostly in low- and zero-carbon products and services, with a significant amount also focused on ensuring security of energy supply for the UK.

“The Chancellor’s proposed tax relief on investments in Britain’s energy future is a critical principle in the new levy.

“We recognise the burden that increased energy prices have across society, in particular on the vulnerable, and have hardship plans in place to help our customers.”

Sunak’s support and what it means for your finances

Thursday 26 May 2022 15:37 , Jane Dalton

Our business correspondent Ben Chapman analyses what the measures will mean for readers’ finances:

What does Rishi Sunak’s new cost-of-living support mean for your finances?

Sketch: The chancellor who’s having to be everything he’s not

Thursday 26 May 2022 15:50 , Jane Dalton

While he sees himself as an Ebeneezer Scrooge-style Tory, Rishi Sunak is in fact best understood as the Ocean Club Marbella Veuve Clicquot Champagne Spray Chancellor, says sketch-writer Tom Peck:

A windfall tax payment from Rishi Sunak – who hates this sort of thing | Tom Peck

Unpaid carers excluded from £650 bonus payment

Thursday 26 May 2022 16:02 , Jane Dalton

An organisation representing unpaid family carers is angry they will be excluded from the support for those on benefits.

Carers Trust’s chief executive Kirsty McHugh said: “We are extremely disappointed to learn that unpaid carers have been shut out of additional support yet again with Carer’s Allowance excluded from the benefits listed as qualifying for the extra £650 one-off payment for those in greatest need.

“Many of the UK’s seven million unpaid family carers bore the brunt of the pandemic. And before that were already experiencing a cost-of-living crisis because more than half of them had had to give up paid work because of their caring role.

“Now millions of those unpaid carers on Carer’s Allowance who were already experiencing acute financial hardship have been forgotten yet again by the Government, with only those on means tested benefits like Universal Credit qualifying for the additional £650 payment.

“The UK Government needs to urgently follow the example of the governments in Wales and Scotland. They have targeted unpaid carers who receive Carer’s Allowance there with extra financial support to recognise how their vital caring roles have all too often pushed them into financial hardship.”

Changes ‘compensate poorest households for rising costs this year'

Thursday 26 May 2022 16:10 , Jane Dalton

Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies economic think tank, said the package meants that on average the poorest households would now be “approximately compensated for the rising cost of living this year”.

He added: “The flat rate nature of payments to benefit recipients does mean, though, that the package is less generous to poor families with children than to those without.

“Even so, put these benefit increases alongside the tax rises just implemented, and Mr Sunak is engaging in some serious redistribution from rich to poor - albeit against a backdrop of rising inequality.”

Mr Johnson said the energy profits levy was a “reasonable tax to raise under the circumstances but the Chancellor should have been clearer over when and how this additional levy will be phased out as gas and oil prices change”.

The poor, pensioners and families may all miss out, warn experts

Thursday 26 May 2022 16:29 , Tom Batchelor

Families will still face enormous challenges in making ends meet, according to money experts.

Sarah Coles, senior personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Unfortunately the sheer scale of energy price rises mean that despite the support announced today, a huge number of families will still face enormous challenges in making ends meet.”

She added: “What’s more, by waiting until October to provide the energy grant, there’s a real risk that people’s financial resilience will be completely exhausted by then.”

The Resolution Foundation think tank highlighted risks that families who come into the benefit system after cut-off dates for measuring eligibility - for example if they lose their job - may miss out.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) also said there was a “crudeness” to the measures, with the flat rate amounts applying in full to those entitled to very little in benefits, and yet not at all to those whose income was very slightly too high to be entitled, meaning significant inequity in the treatment of very similar families.

Charities call on government to go further with financial relief

Thursday 26 May 2022 16:46 , Tom Batchelor

Charities have said Rishi Sunak is “kidding himself” if he believes the problem is temporary, as calls were made for longer term changes to the social security system.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said many poorer pensioners are currently missing out on Pension Credit, adding: “We know that some three-quarters of a million are missing out at the moment, so we urge anyone who thinks they may be eligible to put in a claim without delay.”

Imran Hussain, of Action for Children, said: “The measures announced today will help, but won’t fully shield families with children from the pain they’re experiencing.

“With more mouths to feed, more rooms to heat and more clothes to wash, families with children feel price rises the most and are at greatest risk of falling into poverty.

“Ultimately, we need a stronger social security system to ensure all families with children can meet their basic needs.”

Alison Garnham, chief executive of Child Poverty Action Group, said: “The chancellor is kidding himself if he thinks that the problem is temporary or that the package he offered today will stop people finding themselves so far back that they never recover.”

Help came after Ofgem announcement, says Sunak

Thursday 26 May 2022 17:03 , Tom Batchelor

Rishi Sunak said his cost-of-living support package was announced “because we now have more clarity” about autumn energy bill pressure.

The chancellor said: “The timing of today is because we now have more clarity about what is going to happen to energy bills in the autumn.

“We heard from Ofgem earlier this week about the potential scale of the increase.

“And that is why we took decisive action to provide £15bn worth of support to help the country get through the challenging months ahead.”

Chancellor says package is ‘significant support targeted at most vulnerable’

Thursday 26 May 2022 17:18 , Tom Batchelor

Rishi Sunak said Thursday’s support package amounted to “significant support targeted at the most vulnerable households in particular”.

Speaking to broadcasters at B&Q in Watford, he said: “I know things are difficult and people are worried about the next few months.

“That is why we’ve announced today £15bn of new support to help with the cost of living, with a third of all households, the most vulnerable, receiving up to £1,200 of help.

“There is also support for everyone, because we promised we would stand by the British people. And today, that is what we’ve done.”

He said there was funding for “everyone” because “we know these are difficult times”.

Mr Sunak added: “We said we would stand by the British people. That’s a promise we made and we’re delivering on that today.”

Oil giants BP and Shell see shares rise

Thursday 26 May 2022 17:51 , Tom Batchelor

Oil giants BP and Shell both saw their shares rise on Thursday despite the government’s promise to slap them with a tax hike as investors seemed unconcerned by the news.

The companies, which have made bumper profits in recent months, will have to pay an extra 25 per cent of their profits from the North Sea.

Shares in BP rose 1.8 per cent while Shell’s gained 1.1 per cent.

By the end of the day they had helped push the FTSE 100 up to 7,564.92, a rise of 0.6 per cent or 42.17 points.

Sunak tells Martin Lewis energy sector not working as it should and major reform is coming

Thursday 26 May 2022 18:11 , Tom Batchelor

Rishi Sunak has said the energy market will undergo reforms to reduce the likelihood that households are hit by huge price rises in future, though he warned that changes would take time to be implemented.

The chancellor was asked by Money Saving Expert’s Martin Lewis why the UK doesn’t adopt a similar policy to other European countries such as France in limiting the energy price cap rise (to around 5 per cent across the Channel) by regulating to stop astronomical rises in bills.

Mr Sunak replied: “We do have an independent regulator who does exactly that, and we do have a price cap. Many other countries didn’t have a price cap.

“With regard to electricity generation, we have said that we will reform the market in a similar way to what some of the other European countries have done. That will take a bit of time which is why I said today I am urgently looking at the best way to do that in advance of reforms happening.”

He added: “I am actually sympathetic to the idea that that market isn’t working as well as we want it to work. These people providing electricity are getting to sell that electricity at the very high prices of natural gas, not the cost of what it costs them to produce the electricity.

“That isn’t ideal, we want to see how we can fix that. That’s what some other countries have done.”

Martin Lewis warns Sunak over ‘giving with one hand and taking with another’ as disabled people stripped of government help

Thursday 26 May 2022 18:31 , Tom Batchelor

Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis has warned Rishi Sunak against “giving with one hand and taking away with the other” after a disabled charity warned that hundreds of thousands of disabled people were being cut off from the warm homes discount just as the chancellor announced an extra £150 in support.

Almost 300,000 disabled people are losing government help to cut their fuel costs, with tighter eligibility rules removing the flagship discount from the claimants of a clutch of disability benefits, because their incomes are judged to be too high.

But in today’s announcement, Mr Sunak said disabled people who were facing “extra costs in their day-to-day lives”, would be sent, from September, an extra one-off disability cost-of-living payment worth £150.

Mr Lewis asked the chancellor: “Are you giving with one hand and taking away with another?”

Mr Sunak replied: “The warm homes discount scheme operates completely separately from everything else that I have announced today.”:

Mr Lewis said: “No but there has been a change, so that people with disabilities are being removed from it, so you’re giving them £150 but they’re losing the warm homes discount.”

Mr Sunak replied: “In aggregate, what is happening with the warm homes discount is that it is being expanded by, I think, about 700,000 people.”

Responding to the chancellor, Mr Lewis said the “net gain for these people is zero” and urged him to look again at the policy, which is covered in more detail here.

Sunak says pensions and benefits likely to rise ‘significantly’ next year

Thursday 26 May 2022 18:44 , Tom Batchelor

Rishi Sunak has said people can expect a “significant increase” in benefits and pensions next year once the rate takes into account the current high inflation, though he stopped short of promising further help should energy bills continue to rise in 2023.

Asked by Martin Lewis what help was planned if the cost of living continues to rise over the next 12 months, the chancellor said: “People can judge me by my actions over the time that I have had this job. I have always been responsive to the situation that this country is going through. I will continue to act that way.

“None of us know what energy prices are going to be next year, but what I can tell you now, and what people should be reassured by, is that benefits and pensions next year are likely, subject to a review that has to happen legally, to go up by quite a significant amount, because the inflation rate that decides that is set in September.

“That is likely to be a relatively high inflation in September. That increase is likely to be signifanctly higher than the inflation that we will see next year on the forecasts that are currently available. That should give people an enormous sense of reassurance.”

Sunak denies cost-of-living support package timed as ‘fig leaf' for government after Gray report

Thursday 26 May 2022 19:05 , Tom Batchelor

Rishi Sunak also denied that his cost-of-living support package had been timed to act as a “fig leaf” for the government following the publication of the Sue Gray report on Wednesday into No 10 lockdown parties.

The chancellor, speaking to Money Saving Expert website founder Martin Lewis, said: “I can categorically assure you that that had no bearing on the timing for us announcing this support, and I can give you my absolute assurance on that and my word.

“The reason we acted today was because we had more certainty about what will happen to energy prices in the autumn.

“I don’t know whether it was you Martin or you were quoting someone but it is not right to say we refused to say we would be providing more help.

“I actually said precisely the opposite. I said in the spring, I said in February that of course we would look to provide more support if necessary and that we would do that when we had a better sense of what would happen to energy prices.

£15bn package is actually... £21bn?

Thursday 26 May 2022 19:29 , Tom Batchelor

Second homeowners to get two lots of energy bill handouts

Thursday 26 May 2022 19:46 , Tom Batchelor

Rishi Sunak’s “targeted” support is going to be helpful for second homeowners too, reports the Daily Mail’s Jason Grove:

Doubts over £400 discount in Northern Ireland

Thursday 26 May 2022 20:15 , Tom Batchelor

Concerns have been raised about what the lack of a power-sharing executive in Northern Ireland means for the £400 discount on energy bills announced by the Treasury.

The discount, announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak as part of a range of measures to tackle the spiralling cost of living, is intended to be UK-wide.

But the Sinn Fein Stormont Finance Minister on Thursday said that the lack of an Executive in Northern Ireland will pose challenges for introducing the discount for households in the region.

Conor Murphy said the Treasury is exploring how equivalent support can be provided to people in Northern Ireland despite the lack of a devolved administration.

Chancellor to meet with disability charity over cost-of-living

Thursday 26 May 2022 20:52 , Tom Batchelor

Tom Peck: A windfall tax payment from Rishi Sunak – who hates this sort of thing

Thursday 26 May 2022 21:25 , Tom Batchelor

A windfall tax is a rare, one-off charge made on outrageous good fortune which the beneficiary has done nothing to deserve, writes Tom Peck.

So it is not yet clear how much windfall tax Rishi Sunak will charge on his own windfall tax announcement, and specifically his incredible luck that, after months of obfuscation, it should be right there, ready to go, at the exact moment he and Boris Johnson are desperate to get people to talk about anything other than their own criminality.

Here is the full piece:

A windfall tax payment from Rishi Sunak – who hates this sort of thing | Tom Peck

Rishi Sunak offers tax incentives to fossil fuel firms despite climate emergency

Thursday 26 May 2022 22:01 , Tom Batchelor

Rishi Sunak has been accused of risking Britain’s reputation as a climate leader by announcing tax relief measures that will encourage energy firmsto invest in fossil fuel extraction during a climate emergency.

Climate groups and opposition politicians rebuked the chancellor for incentivising oil and gas extraction when climate scientists, the United Nations and the International Energy Agency have made it clear that the world needs to stop new investment in fossil fuels.

“It’s bone-headedly stupid, even by this government’s low standards, not only to allow but in fact to incentivise the production of new climate-wrecking fossil fuels, rather than keeping them firmly in the ground where they belong,” Green MP Caroline Lucas told The Independent.

Here is the story:

Rishi Sunak announces incentives to extract fossil fuels amid climate crisis

Opinion: Don’t be fooled, Rishi Sunak’s windfall tax will help oil and gas companies

Thursday 26 May 2022 22:28 , Tom Batchelor

The chancellor has finally conceded the best way to help households is through a Windfall tax. But this “temporary levy” could end up helping fossil fuel companies and further penalising renewable energy companies in Britain, writes Carla Denyer.

For a start, Rishi Sunak hinted he wants to make all energy generators, including those in the renewable sector, liable too. But it is oil companiesthat are making eye-watering profits, not solar and wind energy companies. Shell’s profits tripled to over £7.3bn in the first quarter of this year alone.

Read the opinion piece here:

Opinion: Don’t be fooled: Rishi Sunak’s windfall tax will help oil and gas companies

How you can get the government’s new £650 energy bill grant

Thursday 26 May 2022 23:25 , Tom Batchelor

Rishi Sunak has announced a new package of support worth £15bn to help the country through the cost of living crisis.

Among them, is a one-off payment of £650 for 8 million families on benefits to ease the pressure of rising energy bills.

The sum will be applied to those on Universal Credit, Tax Credits, Pension Credit, and legacy benefits from July.

Here is more on how you will receive it:

How you can get the government’s new £650 energy bill grant