Martin Lewis warns Rishi Sunak support not enough as households face £1,500 rise in bills
Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis has warned Chancellor Rishi Sunak that the £550 support for households will not be enough for those just about surviving on their own and are facing a £1,500 increase in their energy bills.
Lewis interviewed the Chancellor not long after he announced a £15bn package of support for the UK to help tackle the cost of living crisis.
Among the raft of measures introduced is a £400 discount on people's energy bills which will come in in October.
This is on top of the £150 Council Tax rebate the government has already implemented, meaning every household will receive £550 in support, with pensioners, people on benefits and the disabled all getting a bit more.
Read more: Windfall tax: What is the policy announced by Rishi Sunak?
Lewis asked about the millions of people who don't qualify for Universal Credit but earn incomes just above the limit.
Lewis pointed to someone called Helen Angus who had reached out to him on Facebook saying she was just over the UC threshold with two incomes.
She said to Lewis: "We've cut back on so much, we're scraping by, we get no government help, we live in a new build house, it's energy-efficient, the government stipulated that, yet they're still charging an arm and a leg how does he expect working families to live and survive?"
Lewis said these people knew they were getting the £550 but pointed out "a £1,500 rise a year on energy alone when everything else is going up is still pretty close to unaffordable."
Read more: Rishi Sunak’s £15bn cost of living package ‘averts the darkest of outcomes’
Read more: Second-home owners to get double payout of Rishi Sunak's £400 energy discount
Sunak responded: "As you've rightly said we should concentrate on as much as we can on the people who are most in need accepting that no government, no chancellor, could sit here and say we can solve the problem for everyone."
He also said the £550 will help and said there was "lots of other things will help the people you just mentioned."
He pointed to the increase in the national living wage and the increase in the National Insurance threshold which will amount to an extra £330 - he did not mention the already implemented 1.25% National Insurance increase.
He said a single mother with two children on minimum wage in a rented house would be £2,500 better off this year due to his policies.
Watch: Sunak sets out £15 billion emergency package to mitigate soaring cost of living
What did the Chancellor announce today?
The key announcement was households in England, Scotland and Wales will receive a £400 payment to help offset the soaring increase in energy bills from October.
All households with a domestic electricity connection will be automatically eligible for the grant.
Bill payers will not need to contact their energy company as the grant will be automatically applied to every household bill in October.
It replaces the £200 loan announced by the Chancellor earlier this year and will not need to be repaid.
On top of this Sunak said a one-off cost-of-living payment worth £650 for around eight million households on means-tested benefits will be sent direct to their bank accounts.
Across all the support, almost all of the eight million most vulnerable households will in total receive at least £1,200.
Pensioners will also get some direct support with eight million households in receipt of winter fuel payments being given an extra “pensioner cost-of-living payment” of £300.
Combined with an additional discount on energy bills, pensioners are at least £500 better off following Thursday’s announcement.
Finally, those on disability benefit will be given an extra £150.
Sunak said this will cost the government £15bn, with part of that being offset by a £5bn levy on energy firms that have disproportionately profited from the soaring cost of energy.