Britons were today warned they face the biggest fall in living standards on record with energy bills and mortgage rates soaring – as Rishi Sunak finally unveiled a £9billion cost-of-living crisis package but admitted it will hardly make a dent in the pain for families.
The Chancellor announced new help in the Commons minutes after it was revealed the energy price cap is going up 54 per cent for millions of people in April, meaning typical costs will rise £693 to £1,971.
And as he spoke, the Bank of England pushed interest rates to 0.5 per cent to control rampant inflation, which it now believes will reach 7.25 per cent in April and act like a lead weight on the economy, as well as pushing up unemployment.
It cautioned that disposable incomes are on track to fall by around 2 per cent – the worst impact since comparable records began in 1990.
Mr Sunak said A-D band homes in England will get £150 council tax rebates, while £200 government-backed discounts will help temporarily keep electricity bills lower for everyone – but must be repaid over five years.
There will also be a £150million ‘discretionary fund’ for local authorities to distribute to worse-off families.
But Mr Sunak conceded it would be ‘wrong and dishonest’ to claim that he can take away all the pain, pointing to soaring global gas costs.
He said the ‘vast majority’ of households would see a £350 benefit – but that is barely half the average energy cap increase.
‘Without Government action, this could be incredibly tough for millions of hardworking families. So the Government is going to step in to directly help people manage those extra costs,’ Mr Sunak said.
Read more: It was always coming: Black Thursday for Brits: Energy bills rocket by £693 and Bank of England hikes rates to 0.5% to battle rampant inflation – as Rishi unveils £9bn package of council tax rebates and loans for bills … but admits it will only offset HALF the pain