Families cry for help as govt considers 'up to £500 cash payouts' to ease cost of living

21 January 2022, 08:18 | Updated: 21 January 2022, 14:50

Adrian spoke of his troubles as energy bills soar
Adrian spoke of his troubles as energy bills soar. Picture: Handout
Rachael Venables

By Rachael Venables

Families have hit out at "scandalous" soaring energy prices as US-style cash payments are being considered by the government for those hardest hit by the soaring cost of living.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

While politicians row about parties, the cost of living is fast becoming the country's biggest political crisis, LBC's correspondent Rachael Venables writes.

It's feared energy prices could rise again in October, even after a predicted jump of 50% for millions of struggling households this spring.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is now said to be considering handing one-off sums of money to those struggling with soaring bills, in plans first reported by The Sun.

The Treasury is investigating whether a one-off payment to the poorest households may be a better solution than slashing VAT on energy bills, which the Chancellor is reportedly concerned would give financial aid to richer households who do not need it.

Read more: Cost of living crisis: Prices rise at fastest pace for 30 years

Read more: Soaring energy bills will 'devastate' families as cost of living continues to squeeze

Emma Pinchbeck, the chief executive of Energy UK, said Ofgem's price cap could increase to £2,400 in October following an increase to "around £2,000" in April.

"We haven't seen anything like this, not in my career or in any of the people who sit on my board."

The rocketing wholesale price of gas has already forced dozens of energy firms to go bust, pushing their customers onto higher tariffs, and many families are already struggling.

Adrian's an unpaid carer and dad-of-two from Dudley. Rahul's a civil servant from Lancashire who just bought his first home.

Both men are united in just having seen their energy bills double overnight, after their energy providers collapsed at the end of last year.

Shadow Chancellor calls for additional financial support for energy bills

Rahul's energy bill has gone from £150 to £300 a month. Adrian's was £80, it's now an eye-watering £220.

"Life's a pinch now," Adrian tells me.

His six-year-old daughter's got disabilities, so he says they spend a lot of money on pull-ups and special food her.

Read more: Cost of living crisis: Axe VAT on energy bills to save people £600, says Labour

Now his bills have rocketed, they've been forced to cut out 'all luxuries;' no more trips to the pub he tells me, just the essentials.

"We're just managing as best we can."

Rahul's got a similar story.

"I've got two young children, one's a new-born. It's mainly leisure activities we've had to cut out, so cancelling gym memberships and days out with the children. We're trying to walk places instead of driving because fuel is so expensive. I've just adapted to a new diet myself - trying to eat the least expensive food as possible."

Rahul and his family.
Rahul and his family. Picture: Supplied by family

But, as bad as things are now, both men are really worried about what's coming next, with energy industry bosses warnings bills could jump by as much as 50% again in the Spring, followed by another hike again, in the Autumn.

Rahul, who's never struggled with his mental health before, is now experiencing anxiety and sleepless nights.

Both are desperate for more help from the Government, and they don't care what form it comes in.

Adrian says: "I'd tell them to stop fighting amongst themselves, get a grip and come up with a plan."

Inflation rose again this week to its highest point in 30 years, making this "cost of living crisis" the biggest political issue facing the Government that didn't start with a Downing Street bash.

The price of every-day items will keep going up, and with tax hikes used to fund the NHS, many families are fearing the worst.

To solve the energy crisis, Labour wants the Government to remove the VAT on energy bills, saving 5%.

Minister asked why VAT isn't being cut on energy bills

But Angela Terry, Green Consumer Expert, says even that doesn’t go far enough, she believes the solution no-one is talking about is insulation:

"There's millions and millions of homes that don't have insulation, it's a scandal but no one out there publicising it or encouraging people to do it."

“The Government have had a couple of schemes in the past to insulate properties, and unfortunately there is nothing out there at the moment unless you’re on benefits or in a housing association. Sa for the two thirds of families out there who are struggling, there is nothing to help them insulate their homes.”

"The cheapest energy is the energy you don't use."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Nancy Pelosi has said 'Biden can be convinced to quit the presidential race'

Nancy Pelosi 'says Biden can be convinced to quit race', after Obama says he 'must seriously consider' stepping aside

Zelenskyy is set to address Cabinet on Friday

Zelenskyy to address Starmer's Cabinet, with ministers to tackle Russia's 'shadow fleet' to squeeze Kremlin finances

Rikki Berry was shot dead in Kirkby on Wednesday

Man shot dead in Liverpool suburb named for the first time, as police release photo

Bob Newhart has died aged 94

Elf and Big Bang Theory actor Bob Newhart dies aged 94

Starmer and Macron have had a bilateral meeting in Oxfordshire

Starmer and Macron share sorrow over Channel migrant death, as PM calls for Europe to work together to tackle crisis

A police car was overturned in the disturbance and fires appear to have been lit

Chaos in Leeds as police car overturned and bus set on fire in riot, as Home Secretary condemns 'shocking' scenes

Primary school teacher struck off after anonymous letter exposed her as £1,600-a-night escort

Primary school teacher struck off after anonymous letter exposed her as £1,600-a-night escort

The Brit drowned after being pulled away by strong currents.

British tourist drowns in front of girlfriend during Lake Como boat trip

x

Former police station - complete with holding cells and custody suite - goes on sale on RightMove

Atker used tubes of Aluminium Phosphide to exterminate bedbugs

'Desperate' woman spared jail after deadly gas used for bedbug infestation kills 11-year-old girl

Obama tells allies Joe Biden must 'seriously consider' presidential bid

Obama tells allies Joe Biden must 'seriously consider' presidential bid as campaign hits back at 'baseless conjecture'

Zara McDermott opened up about the "extremely distressing" events that occurred behind the scenes at Strictly Come Dancing.

Strictly Come Dancing's Graziano Di Prima admits to kicking Zara McDermott

Keir Starmer

Keir Starmer vows to tackle migrant crisis 'at source' as he announces £84 million in aid for Africa and Middle East

Two dead and two children in hospital after house fire in Blackpool

Fundraiser set up in bid to raise money for family of Blackpool couple killed in fire

Six people were found dead at a luxury hotel in Bangkok died from cyanide, including Sherine Chong (left)

US woman insisted on making tea for victims before poisoning them in cyanide murder-suicide plot at Bangkok hotel

Just Stop Oil founder Roger Hallam jailed for five years over M25 protests

Five Just Stop Oil activists - including founder Roger Hallam - given record jail sentences over M25 protest