Boris Johnson REJECTS calls to slash green taxes to help hard-hit Britons
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The Prime Minister insisted his Government “will do everything we can” to help hard-pressed families as he refused to rule out more action ahead of the autumn Budget.
But he rejected calls from the Net Zero Group of Tory MPs sceptical about his climate change targets and other backbenchers for levies on energy bills to be dumped in response to the energy price surge.
The green levy – which adds £153 to the average energy bill – is used to fund renewable energy schemes, a key feature of the government’s recently unveiled supply security strategy.
However, it has been a source of backbench ire during the escalating energy crisis, with 20 Tory MPs and peers writing to the Prime Minister to scrap green taxes on energy bills earlier this year.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has provided households with an up to £350 annual savings on household energy bills, through a £9billion rebate scheme and the scrapping of council tax for households in bands A-D.
But, he has maintained the green levies – which have continued under successive Tory Prime Ministers since David Cameron.
In remarks likely to enrage his Tory critics, the Prime Minister hit out at “prejudice” surrounding his green policies and insisted levies designed to encourage the use of renewable energy could save money.
Speaking during his trade visit to India, the Prime Minister said: “I want to do everything we can to alleviate the cost of living but actually if you look at what – this is very important what I’m saying – there’s a lot of prejudice against the green agenda.
“Actually green technology, green, sustainable electricity can help to reduce bills.
“Overall if you look at what we have done with renewables it has helped to reduce bills over the last few years and will continue to do so.
“That’s why one of the things I want to do is use this moment to have, to really drive towards more offshore wind turbines.
“This country used to be Number One for offshore wind, then China overtook us. We need to regain our lead, we need to build them faster and we can do it.”
The price cap, which spiked 54 percent this month to an eye-watering £1,971 per year, is likely to rise again in October.
Energy specialists Cornwall Insight predict a further 34 per cent increase to £2,599 per year when the cap is updated in the Autumn.
Office for Budget Responsibility analysis of wholesale oil and gas prices suggests bills could increase by as much as 40 percent.
In either scenario, this would mean price-capped energy bills would have more than doubled in less than 12 months.
Bosses of the UK’s largest energy firms have warned that four in 10 people could fall into fuel poverty in October as wholesale prices rocket.
They have called for a “social tariff” to help protect the poorest customers.
As costs soar and wages fall the OBR has warned living standards face their biggest fall in a single year since records began in the mid-1950s.
Inflation, now at a 30 year high, rocketed to seven per cent during March with analysts expecting it to reach 8.7 percent later this year.
Food, drink, clothing and petrol prices have all rocketed.
March’s inflation figure does not take into account the average 54 percent hike in energy bills that was applied to around 22 million households three weeks ago.
Asked if the Government could bring in new measures to help families cope with the cost of living, the Prime Minister ruled nothing out while highlighting the £22billion package of support already unveiled this year.
“We’ll do whatever we can to help, but don’t forget what we’ve already done: so there’s the council tax abatement of £150 for everybody in bands A to D homes.
“We’ve cut taxes for most people by lifting the National Insurance threshold. That’s actually quite a big tax cut for loads of people.
“We’re continuing with all the support that we’ve got, we’ve cut fuel duty by the biggest amount ever, 5p cut in fuel duty.
“Together, the package is worth £22billion.
“But the best answer is to have high wage, high skilled jobs, which is why we’re off to India, to get more investment into this country.”
Pressed on the possibility of more support, he said: “I’m saying we’ll do everything we can to help, but I’m pointing to what we’ve already done.”
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