Home Business 'Willing to do what it takes': Chancellor not ruling out further energy support if bills soar

'Willing to do what it takes': Chancellor not ruling out further energy support if bills soar

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Government energy support is due to end on 1 July.
Economics & data editor
Thursday 25 May 2023 22:37, UK
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The chancellor has said he „is willing to do what it takes” and increase support for households if energy bills rise again this autumn.
Sky’s economics and data editor Ed Conway asked the chancellor if he could guarantee he would step in if energy bills start rising again.
„All I can say is that I think I’ve demonstrated in the autumn statement, and the spring budget where I extended the energy price guarantee for another three months, funded in part by a windfall tax on the oil companies, that we are willing to do what it takes,” Mr Hunt said.
„We are very aware of the pressures that families are facing, and we want to do what we can to support them”, he said.
But, he added they were not expecting a major increase in Ofgem’s energy price cap, which today brought average bills to £2,074 a year, down £426 a year from the previous cap and is reviewed every three months.
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When asked if the government would step in, if bills hypothetically reached £3,000 a year, the chancellor said he was not expecting those kinds increases.
„I don’t want to predict today what might happen to energy prices at the moment”, he said. „I don’t have a crystal ball.”
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Wholesale gas prices have come down, enabling the energy regulator to bring down the price cap, but the future of prices is unknown.
Ofgem’s chief executive on Thursday told MPs it is „very, very hard” to predict future energy prices.
„Every prediction on the market has turned out to be substantially wrong,” Jonathan Brearley said at the Public Accounts Committee.
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His „best guess” is prices will continue to come down but said it was only a guess.
Mr Brearley added he hopes prices continue to fall but said that it only takes one global event to bring prices up again.
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Energy prices rose sharply in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as Western countries rushed to cease use of Russian gas and find alternative sources.
Oil and gas prices had already been rising as economic activity restarted after pandemic-era lockdowns.
The government’s energy price guarantee is set to end on 1 July. It limits the amount suppliers can charge per unit of energy used and was applied throughout the autumn and winter.
No state support is planned from July.
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