I acknowledge the effects that the increase in global energy prices has had on consumers, and I welcome the measures implemented by the Government to assist the most vulnerable.
In support of all consumers, the Energy Price Guarantee (EPG), which limits the amount one can be charged per unit of gas or electricity, is being extended until April 2024. This aims to protect consumers from price strikes during the winter months.
Extending further aid to those in greatest need, Cost of Living Payments will be paid to 8 million households on eligible means-tested-benefits, 6 million people on eligible disability benefits, and 8 million pensioner households. Alongside this, to empower local authorities to provide discretionary support to those most vulnerable, the Government has provided £1 billion of extra funding to the Household Support Fund, bringing the total of the Fund to £2.5 billion. As you may know, benefits and the state pension were increased by 10.1 per cent, in line with inflation, in April 2023. Indeed, in April 2024, all working-age benefits will be uprated in line with September 2023 Consumer Price Index Inflation – 6.7 per cent.
More broadly, the Government is taking steps to safeguard Britain’s energy supply to shield consumers from fluctuations in the global energy market. I am aware legislation is being brought forward aiming to reduce dependence on higher-emission imports from overseas, including from countries like Russia.