Government ‘will unveil new plan to help cost-of-living crisis on Thursday’

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A new Government plan to help people during the cost-of-living crisis is reportedly due to be unveiled the day after Sue Gray’s report is published.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is widely reported to be meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday to “sign off” on their “multibillion-pound” plan, with Thursday being the suggested date for an announcement.

Government sources told the PA news agency that no decisions have been made yet and the timing is yet to be confirmed.

Energy prices
Ofgem chief executive Jonathan Brearley appeared before the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee on Tuesday (House of Commons/PA)

He said this was due to the market coping with “once-in-a-generation” price changes “not seen since the oil crisis of the 1970s”.

Reports have stated a new windfall tax on energy firms would be used to help those who are struggling – an option previously suggested by Labour and some senior Tories.

The Times said other measures which could be introduced include increases in the warm homes discount, winter fuel allowance and a cut in council tax, while a VAT cut is said to be being mooted.

The announcement is also reported to be going ahead as a way to take some of the heat off the Government following the publication of Ms Gray’s full report into partygate, which is expected on Wednesday.

But a Downing Street spokesman told the BBC he would “refute any suggestion” an announcement would be timed to distract from the report.

Energy bills
Reports have stated a new windfall tax on energy firms would be used to help those who are struggling (Peter Byrne/PA)

A Government spokesperson said: “We understand that people are struggling with rising prices, and while we can’t shield everyone from the global challenges we face, we’re supporting British families to navigate the months ahead with a £22 billion package of support.

“That includes saving the typical employee over £330 a year through a tax cut in July, allowing people on Universal Credit to keep more of the money they earn – benefiting over a million families by around £1,000 a year, and providing millions of households with up to £350 each to help with rising energy bills.

“The Chancellor has been clear that as the situation evolves, our response will evolve – and we stand ready to do more.”

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