The UK’s policing minister has said the chancellor is “trying to ameliorate the challenge” of the cost of living crisis, as the Labour party reiterated its call for a windfall tax on energy companies.
Energy bills for the 22mn UK households whose payments are capped will rise by an average of £693 to £1,971 a year from today.
“It’s very tough at the moment,” Kit Malthouse told Sky News on Friday. “Prices are rising significantly, energy prices in particular.”
Malthouse said the rises were “driven by a variety of factors post-pandemic, the war in Ukraine [and] other global factors outside of our immediate control.”
“The chancellor is trying to do his best to ameliorate the challenge, although we can’t go all the way and ameliorate it all,” Malthouse said.
An increase in the national minimum wage, a cut in fuel duty and a rise in the threshold for national insurance contributions — a tax paid by employees — would help, Malthouse added.
The minimum wage will increase from £8.91 to £9.50 per hour. However, the government’s response was lambasted by the opposition.
The leader of the Labour party, Sir Keir Starmer said “today is a really significant and worrying day for millions of people, because their energy bills are going to go up by hundreds of pounds.”
“Oil and gas companies in the North Sea have made more profit than they expected, because global prices have been high,” he said. “Therefore we should have a windfall tax on that and use it to reduce those energy bills by up to £600 for those that need it most.”