Jeremy Hunt’s plan to lower energy bills slammed as ‘too late’
Earlier this week, Jeremy Hunt outlined his vision for the economic future of the country in his first Budget announcement since taking over the Treasury under new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Included in the package was further targeted cost of living support for the most vulnerable in society, as well as a timeframe for how the Government plans to transition the UK into becoming more energy efficient. While many experts have praised the content of what Mr Hunt announced, the eventual rollout of these policies in a couple of years is receiving criticism for being “too late” in light of energy bills rising to record levels at this moment in time.
Notably, the Chancellor confirmed that £6billion was being reserved to help better improve the insulation of Britain’s homes in a bid to lower costs for everyday families in the long-term.
Furthermore, Jeremy Hunt shared that the Sizewall C in Suffolk would become the “first state-backed” nuclear power station in decades as the Government explores alternative sustainable energy options.
One of the key proposals in the Budget was a Government taskforce which would manage plans to insulate homes and upgrade boilers across the country. However, this initiative would not receive extra funding until 2025 and 2028.
On top of this, Mr Hunt promised to set aside £6.6billion in achieving energy efficiency during this current Parliament with a further £6billion in funding from 2025. Experts believe this is “too late” due to the financial pressures being placed currently on households.
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Families across the country are experiencing an unprecedented rise in their energy bills which is being caused by pressures in the wholesale gas and electricity market, and the war in Ukraine.
These factors are accelerating the UK’s aims of becoming energy independent with environmentally-friendly sources being cited as the most cost effective for Britons in the long-term.
In the last year, the Government has rolled out multiple cost of living payments for those on benefits, pensioners and people with a disability to mitigate the impact of this cost. As well as this, every household has benefited from the £400 energy bill grant this year.
The £2,500 energy price guarantee, which caps how much families pay for each unit of energy they use, has also been praised by many. However, Jeremy Hunt’s confirmation that the average household energy bill will hit £3,000 annually next year has led to questions about the extent of the immediate support on offer.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, consumer champion Will Hodson voiced his support for the Government’s commitment to offering this support into 2023 while voicing concern for the immediate needs of the most vulnerable.
He said: “You’ve got an overarching package on energy that should give us some hope that future bills will be lower than what we face today. In particular, it’s the correct thing to do for Jeremy Hunt to double down on Britain’s commitment to low carbon, low cost domestically generated energy.
“But, cheaper energy in the future is no good for people struggling with bills today so I find myself immediately looking for what the Chancellor is offering to households struggling with their bills, here and now.
“It’s a good thing that he has extended his support to the most vulnerable homes. It’s also a relief to the nation that he’s extended the period of support for the energy price guarantee. It is still worth noting that the average home will pick up a bill of £3,000, up from £2,000.
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“This underlines the most pressing challenge facing Jeremy Hunt which is increased energy efficiency.
“The only way to reduce our bills is to reduce our energy usage and reduce energy usage means increase energy efficiency. All eyes will rightly be on Jeremy Hunt’s energy efficiency taskforce.
“He’s committed an extra £6billion to the ‘new national mission of energy efficiency. To which I say: great. The second thing is the extra support is coming in from 2025. To which I say: too late.
“Historically high bills are here now. Government is on the hook for bills now. They should be rolling out full throttle energy efficiency schemes now.”
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