Rishi Sunak Accused Of Blocking Plan To Cut Energy Bills By £500

A leaked document reportedly shows the Treasury rejected the suggestion.
UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor via PA Media

Rishi Sunak has been accused of blocking government plans to cut energy bills by £500.

According to leaked documents seen by the i newspaper, a draft of the energy security strategy included a measure to increase the existing £200 rebate on gas and electricity charges to “£500 or more”.

The chancellor announced the £200 discount for all households in February, but the scheme has been criticised as the money has to eventually be repaid over several years.

The document reportedly said: “We could boost the recently announced rebate scheme. There are three options: a) Increase the amount of the rebate e.g. from £200 to £500 or more – either for all or just for fuel poor households; b) Delay the point at which the rebate has to be repaid and/or extend the repayment period – again either for all or targeted at the fuel poor; c) Exempt at least some fuel poor households from all or some repayment.”

Another suggestion, outlined by Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng’s department, was a delay to the repayment or an extension to the repayment period.

However, this was also dismissed along with a proposal to exempt the poorest homes from having to pay back the rebate.

A government spokesperson did not deny that the Treasury had vetoed the proposals to do more to help people deal with the cost of living crisis

They said: “We understand that people are struggling with the rising cost of living – we can’t shield everyone from the global challenges we face but we’re putting billions of pounds back into the pockets of hard-working families across the UK.

“We are taking action worth over £22 billion next financial year to help people with the cost of their energy bills and to ensure people keep more of their money, including increasing the National Insurance thresholds saving a typical employee over £330 a year, boosting incomes by £1,000 for an average full-time worker by increasing the National Living Wage and helping low-income families keep more of what they earn by reducing the Universal Credit taper rate.

“We have set out a bold energy strategy that will reduce our dependence on power sources exposed to volatile international prices, meaning we can enjoy greater self-sufficiency with cheaper bills.”

A Treasury source also said that the plans were never tabled as proposals.

Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Kwasi Kwarteng
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The revelation piles more pressure on the chancellor who has been criticised for not doing enough in his spring statement for households hit by the cost of living crisis.

It also comes on the same day the government’s energy strategy was published amid mass disruption to energy supplies due to sanctions placed on Russia.

The plan includes increases to the number of offshore wind farms and nuclear power plants as well as increases in the production of North Sea oil and gas in the short-term.

Separately, the under fire Chancellor is also facing questions over his wife’s status as a non-dom, which allows her to avoid paying UK taxes on her overseas earnings.


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