The current energy bill support scheme – the energy price guarantee – only runs until April 2023, with a price guarantee levied to help British taxpayers with their rising bills.
Originally announced by Kwarteng earlier in the year, Hunt made a change to this measure in his initial budget speech, reducing the time scale for support from two years down to only six months, lasting until April next year.
In the Autumn Statement, Hunt confirmed the change to the guarantee, continuing Government support, but increasing the threshold: with the average household now paying £3,000 a year, up £500 from the previous limit.
Experts predicted that, without Government support, energy bills could reach up to £3,700, but – regardless of this comparison – households that are already struggling with the current costs will see their bills increase by a further £500.
In response to these changes, Mike Foster, CEO of the Energy and Utilities Alliance, said: “News of the energy price cap protection coming to an end in April will surprise and worry millions of hard-pressed families. Together with the announcement that promised tax cuts have also been withdrawn will heap huge financial pressure onto those already struggling to pay their bills.”
Hunt also announced the following energy initiatives:
- Households on means-tested benefits will get £900 support payments next year
- £300 payments will be made to pensioner households, and £150 for individuals on disability benefit.
The one-off payment of £400 for winter energy bills has been in effect for the last month, so this saw no change.
The energy bill relief scheme, which is aimed at supporting businesses (which aren’t covered by the energy price cap) also remained in place – as did the energy markets financing scheme.