Cost of living crisis: 'Silly' to offer more help with soaring energy bills now, says Sunak

28 April 2022, 20:31

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has hinted there could be further help for families struggling with soaring energy bills in the autumn.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has hinted there could be further help for families struggling with soaring energy bills in the autumn. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has caused a fresh row after he argued it would be "silly" to offer families further help with soaring energy bills.

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Mr Sunak has faced increased calls to ease pressure on Brits during the cost of living crisis, with energy prices set to jump again in October.

It comes after Ofgem raised the price cap of gas and electricity, with it soaring by 54 per cent at the start of April.

Speaking to Mumsnet, Mr Sunak said: "We'll see what happens with the price cap in the autumn, I know people are anxious about this and wondering if they're going to go up even more.

"Depending on what happens to bills then, of course, if we need to act and provide support for people we will, I've always said that. But it would be silly to do that now."

Read more: Annual MOT could be axed to ease cost of living crisis saving hard-pressed motorists £27

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Mr Sunak answered Brits' questions on Wednesday
Mr Sunak answered Brits' questions on Wednesday. Picture: Alamy

Labour shadow treasury minister Tulip Siddiq hit back at Mr Sunak's claim, saying it showed he did not understand the pressures families were under.

"How out of touch is this Chancellor?" she said.

"Families are already feeling the cost-of-living crisis, hit by record rises in energy prices, record high petrol prices and staggeringly steep hikes in the cost of food and essentials.

"With the Chancellor heaping them with the biggest tax burden in 70 years on top of that, people are paying more and getting less. It's time to act."

Energy bills are set to rise again in autumn.
Energy bills are set to rise again in autumn. Picture: Alamy

Meanwhile, mortgages could be set to rise by more than £1,000 as interest rates continue to soar.

Rates could increase by as much as 2.5 per cent over the next 12 months, meaning repayments could rise by £1,000, Mr Sunak said, according to the Mail.

The Chancellor warned that, despite the challenges, Cabinet colleagues needed to avoid borrowing more to fund public spending, claiming it risked stoking inflation further.

Mr Sunak also warned that oil and gas giants faced a windfall tax on their profits if they did not increase investment to shore up Britain's energy supplies.

He hinted at a u-turn on Government opposition to a one-off raid on energy firms despite fears it could hit investment and jobs.

The Chancellor said: "If we don't see that type of investment coming forward and if the companies are not going to make those investments in our country and in our energy security, then of course that's something I would look at."