Martin Lewis predicts ‘change’ from Rishi Sunak as he slams ‘stupid’ scheme
Martin Lewis outlines ideas to alleviate impacts of tax hikes
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Speaking on Good Morning Britain this morning, the financial journalist shared his insights into what is expected to be a “two-pronged approach” to the cost of living crisis. The energy regulator Ofgem is due to make an announcement today regarding rising price caps on electricity and gas bills.
Experts across the country have warned this will likely see a huge increase in household bills which could send thousands into fuel poverty.
At the brink of the cost of living crisis, compounded by the energy price rises, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak is expected to make an announcement this afternoon to shed light on assistance available to vulnerable households.
Mr Lewis today told Good Morning Britain: “I think what we’re going to see today is a two or three-pronged change from the Chancellor.
“There’s going to be this loan arrangement where firms are being loaned money so that they will be able to discount around £200 off a typical bill. That would bring the price cap down to around £1,700.
“If I were the Chancellor, what I would be doing is looking at is, ‘How do we protect those vulnerable people who will genuinely be choosing between freezing and starving if we don’t help them.’”
Mr Sunak is expected to announce a package of financial assistance and measures to assist the most vulnerable households in the country.
Mr Lewis shared what these measures might look like: “It’s looking like there will be two things: it’s looking like Warm Home Discount will be increased and probably more people will be eligible because currently the scheme is stupid.
“You’re only eligible if you’re with the right firm that has over 150,000 customers and there’s the core bit and the non-core bit and the non-core bit is discretionary by the firms who they give, that needs to be changed.”
The core group is made of those who qualify for the discount as they receive the guarantee element of Pension Credit while the non-core or broader group is for those that qualify by being on a low income.
Each energy supplier is provided with a limited amount of discounts every winter season and discretion lies with the firm of which applicants from the broader group will receive the discount.
Mr Lewis continued: “There’s also talk about giving people on the lowest council tax bands money to help with the cost of living and I think the reasoning or logic behind that is that most of the tax system is based on individuals whereas council tax is about the household and energy is about the household so they may be looking at that.
“Those are the things we are looking for today when the Chancellor speaks but the question is: Will it be enough?”
It is not only the energy price rise that is bordering on overwhelming low income households, but inflation skyrocketing and the looming National Insurance rise is also battering the most vulnerable.
Good Morning Britain viewer Margaret shared her story: “I’ve already turned off my heating, I haven’t had my heating on for the whole of the winter.”
Another person said: “I’m a disabled woman. I’m on PIP, I used to pay £79 for my electric bill, it’s increased to £300 a month. I get benefits every two weeks, I won’t have enough to pay my gas bill, my water bill, my TV licence, food or anything else. This is all I get, it’s taking all of my money.”
Ms Lewis commented: “Let’s be under no plain terms: If there is no other help on the first of April it is catastrophic for the six million people in fuel poverty and it is stressful for the many people who have more money than that but will have to make difficult choices and have to curtail their lifestyles on the back of this energy rise.
“This is one of those times where politicians can make a genuine impact and make things better and the jury is out on how well they’ll do it.”
Mr Lewis noted that the details of what exactly the assistance packages and measures will consist of have been “scant”, but an announcement by the Chancellor is expected today.
Mr Sunak will also be appearing on the Martin Lewis Money Show, where Mr Lewis will be interviewing him on the cost of living crisis, energy bills, what is being done and what isn’t.
He has suggested that readers with questions for the Chancellor can contact him on social media to have their question potentially put forward in the interview.
Good Morning Britain airs weekdays on ITV from 6am.
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