'Give an opt-out or scrap it': MoneySavingExpert Martin Lewis blasts govt's energy loan

11 February 2022, 09:50

'The Chancellor is effectively taking a worrying gamble with people's finances.'

By Tim Dodd

MoneySavingExpert Martin Lewis tells LBC that as the majority of Brits would like to opt-out of the government's energy loan, the Chancellor should either let them do so or "scrap this scheme and try something else".

It comes after the Chancellor outlined three ways in which the Government will help Brits face the energy crisis, including a £200 discount on electricity bills. 

All domestic electricity customers will receive the upfront discount from energy suppliers who will apply the discount on people's bills from October, however, it will be repaid automatically in instalments of £40 over five years.

Quoting a YouGov poll MoneySavingExpert carried out, Mr Lewis said: "57% of people said they would opt out of the scheme if they could. Only 26% of billpayers said they wouldn't.

"In every single category of age and income, including those receiving benefits, the majority would opt-out."

Nick asked: "Why are people saying no to the loan?"

Read more: Millions will be pushed into poverty because of energy crisis, says campaigner

'I think people like Priti Patel are running from a sinking ship they helped put holes in.'

"With this scheme, the Chancellor is effectively taking a worrying gamble with people's finances," Mr Lewis explained.

"If the [energy] rates don't drop, or don't drop a lot, people will be left in a lose-lose situation, with far higher bills and an additional levy on top.

"As I doubt it's technically possible for the opt-out to be put in in time for October, I think the best thing is to scrap this scheme and try something else."

On the situation for Brits over the coming months, Mr Lewis said: "I think it is a generally catastrophic situation. I would urge people if they're struggling to call National Energy Action or speak to Citizens Advice."

"I said to the Chancellor's face last week, I think the measures he's put in place will forestall some people having to choose between whether they freeze or starve, but it is far from forestalling everybody."

Read more: Starmer accuses PM of ‘gaslighting’ the public over cost of living crisis

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