In late May, the Chancellor announced new measures to counter the rising cost of living, in particular energy prices.
Initial measures for 2022
In early February 2022, the Chancellor announced a package of measures to reduce the impact of the £693 April 2022 increase in Ofgem’s energy price cap. These were primarily:
- A £150 council tax rebate for those with properties in bands A–D in England, with corresponding funding for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland under the Barnett formula;
- An Energy Bills Support Scheme to provide a £200 reduction in utility bills for the year starting in October 2022. This was effectively a loan, to be repaid by £40 a year added to bills from April 2023. The scheme applied throughout the UK apart from Northern Ireland, which again received Barnett formula cash; and
- Extra discretionary funding of £500 million under the Household Support Fund for English councils to allow them to provide support for vulnerable people and individuals on low incomes, again with Barnett money for the UK’s other constituents.
The package, which has had problems with the distribution of the council tax rebates, had a value of about £9 billion. However, with the suggestion from Ofgem that the October price cap will be around £2,800 and inflation already running at 9%, February’s measures looked increasingly inadequate under widespread criticism.