In the aftermath of defeat in the local elections, Theresa Villiers MP acknowledged that the Government needs to listen to the message from residents and provide a clearer plan to grow the economy and help people with the cost of living.
She subsequently welcomed the additional package of support announced by the Chancellor pf the Exchequer, saying “Inflation has been pushed up around the world because of economies reopening after Covid and the war in Ukraine pushing up oil and food prices.”
“I welcome the big package of support the Chancellor is providing to help people with rising prices. Whilst no Government can insulate people from all the effects of worldwide inflation, this will help millions of people, in addition to the extensive support already announced.”
“This major intervention is only possible because of work to strengthen the economy over the past twelve years. We now need to ensure that we have a clear plan to grow the economy in a sustainable way to safeguard living standards. That is why Government programmes to create jobs and give people access to the skills they need to earn better wages are vital.”
“We must also use our Brexit freedoms to reform regulation to make our economy more competitive and create the right climate in which business and enterprise can flourish. This is crucial for delivering a thriving economy and was at the heart of the report on the Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform which I co-wrote last year.”
The Chancellor’s announcement in Parliament today brings the total value of support offered with cost of living pressures to £37 billion. Key measures include:
- £650 cost of living payment for every household on means-tested benefits. This means over 8 million of the most vulnerable households (around one-third of all in the UK) will be directly sent a one-off cash payment of £650. All those who live in the UK and are in receipt of Universal Credit, Jobseekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and Pension Credit are eligible.
- £300 pensioner cost of living payment for every pensioner household in receipt of Winter Fuel Payment. Around 8 million pensioner households already receive Winter Fuel Payments, which are being increased to £300. All existing recipients will be sent an additional one-off £300 cash payment, due to be paid out automatically in November/December.
- £150 disability cost of living payment for those in receipt of disability benefits. For the nearly 6 million people who receive disability benefits – including Personal Independence Payments, Disability Living Allowance, and Attendance Allowance – there will be an additional one-off cash payment worth £150, paid out from DWP in September.
- £500 million to help hard cases. The Government is providing an additional £500 million for the Household Fund from October, to enable local councils can support those not covered by the above payments. Local councils will have discretion over exactly how the funding is used.
- Doubling the October £200 rebate for energy bills to £400 – and turning it into a cash grant. So it will not be added to a later bill as initially proposed.
This package will benefit the lowest-income households by £1,200 – with some households receiving £1,650
The lowest-income households on means-tested benefits will receive £650 from the one-off payment announced today, £400 from the energy bills cash grant, and £150 from the council tax rebate – totalling £1,200. For the 8 million most vulnerable households, this £1,200 is comparable to the average energy bill increase over the course of this year.
Pensioners will receive £850: £300 through the additional Winter Fuel Payment, £400 from the energy bills cash grant, and £150 from the council tax rebate – totalling £850.
Hard-working families will receive £550. Most households will receive £150 from the council tax rebate, along with £400 from the energy bills cash grant – totalling £550.
Some individuals could receive up to £1,650. A low-income household on pension credit with a disability would receive the £650 one-off payment, £300 through the Winter Fuel Payment, £150 for disability benefit recipients, £400 from the energy bills cash grant, and £150 from the council tax rebate – totalling £1,650.
These grants and support payments are in addition to the help announced previously by the Chancellor such as:
• £9 billion to help households address rising energy costs, delivering a £150 cash rebate for homes in Council Tax bands A-D. We also provided £144 million of discretionary funding for local authorities to support households.
• Cutting fuel duty by 5p for twelve months. Conservative Governments have frozen fuel duty for twelve consecutive years. But in recognition of the unprecedented circumstances pushing up fuel prices, we cut fuel duty by 5 pence for a full year – only the second reduction in twenty years, the LARGEST EVER cut across all fuel duty rates, and a new tax cut itself worth £2.5 billion, adding up to over £5 billion together with the cost of the freeze. This will save car drivers £100, van drivers £200, and HGV drivers £1,500 this year.
• The National Insurance personal threshold will rise from £9,500 to £12,570 from July. This is the largest increase in a starting personal tax threshold in British history, equivalent to a £6 billion tax cut for nearly 30 million workers and worth over £330 a year starting in July, across the entire United Kingdom. This is the largest single personal tax cut in a decade.
• Putting £1000 in the pockets of people on the lowest incomes by slowing down the rate at which benefits are withdrawn when people's income from work goes up. So people keep more of what the earn and lose fewer benefits.
• Cutting the basic rate of income tax to 19 pence in 2024. It would be irresponsible to do this now, but by 2024, inflation is forecast to be back under control, debt will be falling sustainably and the economy growing. The Government therefore plans to decrease the basic rate of income tax by 1p, a tax cut worth £5 billion for over 30 million workers, pensioners and savers – only the second income tax cut in two decades.