“The oil and gas sector is making tremendous profits, not as a result of recent changes, risk-taking or innovation or efficiency, but as a result of rising global commodity prices,” Sunak said in a speech to parliament.
The tax will help fund a new package of benefits worth about £ 15 billion ($ 19 billion). Sunak said the government would provide one-time direct payments to millions of people in the country’s most vulnerable families. About eight million low-income families will receive £ 650 in two installments later this year, while another 8 million pensioners will receive £ 300.
Rocket energy bills have fueled price increases across the economy. In April, UK consumer inflation hit a 40-year high of 9%. And as wages fail to keep pace with rising food and fuel costs, living standards have returned to their lowest level since the 1950s, according to the UK’s Office for Budget Responsibility.
Sunak delivered in February Some relief groups have been offering families a 200 rebate on their energy bills since October, which will be paid in installments over the next few years. On Thursday, Sunak doubled the discount and said nothing had to be returned.
“This assistance is now unequivocally a grant,” he said.
Poverty advocates welcomed Thursday’s move.
“The Chancellor has clearly heard concerns that support for fuel poverty needs to be both broad, but also focused on the most at-risk groups,” Simon Francis, coordinator of the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, told CNN Business.
Francis added that the new measures would “sting out” the recent rise in energy prices, but that those in energy poverty needed more reassurance that support would be found in the medium term.
– Mark Thompson Contributing Reporting.