Even well-off Brits earning £45,000 a year will suffer in coming months, chancellor warns

27 August 2022, 09:11 | Updated: 27 August 2022, 09:19

Mr Zahawi warned senior nurses and senior teachers will find things hard
Mr Zahawi warned senior nurses and senior teachers will find things hard. Picture: Getty

By Will Taylor

Well-off Brits earning £45,000 a year will still find dealing with soaring energy bills hard, the Chancellor has warned.

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In stark new comments laying out the scale of the cost-of-living crisis, Nadhim Zahawi said the pain of the coming months will not be felt only by Brits on lower incomes and benefits.

He has already pledged to provide options for the next prime minister – either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak – as Ofgem hiked the energy price cap for the average yearly bill from £1,971 to £3,549. That will kick in from October.

"My concern is there are those who aren't on benefits," Mr Zahawi told the Telegraph.

"If you are a senior nurse or a senior teacher on £45,000 a year, you're having your energy bills go up by 80% and will probably rise even higher in the new year - it's really hard.

Read more: 'A catastrophe - I'm begging you to help': Martin Lewis pleads for next PM to act after price cap hikes to £3,500

Mr Zahawi said more needs to be done
Mr Zahawi said more needs to be done. Picture: Getty

"If you're a pensioner, it's really hard. So Universal Credit is a really effective way of targeting, but I'm looking at what else we can do to make sure we help those who really need the help. We're looking at all the options."

Ms Truss is reportedly due to issue out more winter fuel payments to pensioners, while Rishi Sunak said he will support the most vulnerable.

Government support, including discounts on energy bills from October and payments to the most vulnerable, have been criticised as insufficient because of soaring inflation.

Gas prices have driven up energy prices and Ofgem, the regulator that sets the cap, called on the next prime minister to do more.

Its CEO Jonathan Brearley said: "The Government support package is delivering help right now, but it's clear the new Prime Minister will need to act further to tackle the impact of the price rises that are coming in October and next year.

"We are working with ministers, consumer groups and industry on a set of options for the incoming Prime Minister that will require urgent action.

Protesters outside Ofgem HQ in Glasgow

"The response will need to match the scale of the crisis we have before us. With the right support in place and with regulator, government, industry and consumers working together, we can find a way through this."

Around six million households could have their savings totally wiped out by surging energy bills, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research have warned - while Boris Johnson has promised a "pipeline of cash" is coming in the next few months.

The drawn-out Tory leadership process has been criticised for its length given the scale of the crisis facing the next occupant of No10.

And while Mr Zahawi acknowledged the Government needs to do more, he has been criticised for suggesting on Friday – as the price cap rose by 80% - for saying "we should all look at our energy consumption".

He has an estimated net worth of £100m and had to apologise in 2013 for claiming £5,822 in expenses for electricity supplied to his stables in his second home.