Gas and electricity bills to rise by £693 – follow live

Gas and electricity bills to rise by £693 - follow live
Households could get money back from government as bills to rise by more than 50%


Watch live as chancellor Rishi Sunak addresses MPs amid rise in energy prices

Millions of UK households will see their gas and electricity bills jump by more than 50 per cent in April after energy regulator Ofgem announced a record-breaking increase to its price cap.

The new cap will allow suppliers to charge customers a maximum of £1,971 per year, meaning energy bills for the average household will increase by £693.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a council tax rebate to ease the pressure of rising bills on consumers, who also face high inflation and a tax rise.

Mr Sunak said households in council tax bands A to D would receive £150 back in April to offset the huge cost of living squeeze that will take hold then.

Along with the price cap rise from 1 April, taxpayers will be hit that month by the 1.25 per cent National Insurance hike and inflation is forecast to be higher.

Mr Sunak said the council tax rebate was designed to help people on middle-incomes as well as the poorest and that around 80 per cent of homes in England would benefit.

The response in the energy sector was critical to early reports of the plan, with the boss of supplier Ecotricity calling the measures “far too little, far too late”.


Rishi Sunak announces £350 help package to take ‘sting’ out of rising bills

Rishi Sunak has announced a help package for households worth £350 in an attempt to remove the “sting” out of rocketing energy bills for millions of households.

The chancellor said the vast majority will receive support through council tax rebates — worth £150 — in bands A to D, and an upfront one-off discount on bills worth £200.

However, he rejected calls to cut VAT on energy bills, an idea floated by Boris Johnson during the Brexit referendum, arguing it would “disproportionately benefit wealthier households”.

Read the full report here:

Rishi Sunak announces £350 help package to take ‘sting’ out of rising bills

Chancellor’s intervention follows record-breaking increase to energy price cap

Ashley Cowburn3 February 2022 12:25

Sunak dismisses call to cut VAT on energy

Rishi Sunak dismissed Labour’s plan for a VAT cut on energy, saying it would “disproportionately benefit wealthy households”.

Labour has said scrapping VAT from energy bills for one year would alleviate the rise in energy bills for the poorest people.

The chancellor argued this would not be the case, saying: “There would be no guarantee that suppliers would pass on the discount to all customers and we should be honest with ourselves – this would become a permanent government subsidy on everyone’s bills.

“A permanent subsidy worth £2.5 billion every year at a time when we are trying to rebuild the public finances.”

Mr Sunak insisted his plan for a £150 council tax rebate was more generous and could be delivered faster.

Liam James3 February 2022 12:09

Rishi Sunak announces £150 council tax rebate

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a £150 council tax rebate to be paid to households in April.

He said households in council tax bands A-D would receive the money.

“This means around 80 per cent of all homes in England will benefit,” he said.

Liam James3 February 2022 11:43

Rishi Sunak has taken to the floor of the House of Commons now to address MPs on the energy price rises.

Liam James3 February 2022 11:35

Breaking: UK households hit by record rise in energy bills as price cap jumps to £1,971

Millions of UK households will see their gas and electricity bills jump by more than 50 per cent in April after energy regulator Ofgem announced a record-breaking increase to its price cap.

The cap, which sets a maximum amount suppliers can charge 22 million retail customers, will rise from £1,277 to £1,971 for a household on average usage. It means a £693 per year increase for the average customer.

Prepayment meter customers will see an increase of £708 from £1,309 to £2,017.

It will heap further pressure on Rishi Sunak to announce a comprehensive support package for struggling households. The chancellor is set to announce measures today, with suppliers expecting a £5.5bn loan scheme that will allow them to fund rebates of around £200 per customer to be clawed back over several years.

Ben Chapman3 February 2022 11:13

Oil giant Shell celebrates 14-fold rise in profits in ‘momentous year’ as families face surging energy bills

Shell has recorded a fourteen-fold increase in quarterly profits amid soaring prices for oil and gas, reigniting calls for a windfall tax to relieve the burden on households as bills soar.

The average price Shell received for its gas more than doubled in six months to $8.88 (£6.55) per thousand cubic feet.

Shell’s upstream business – which extracts fossil fuels from the ground – also enjoyed an 18 per cent jump in the price at which it sold oil.

While consumers and businesses are being hit by sky-high energy prices, which have pushed up the cost of living, Shell’s shareholders are in line for a bumper payday.

Chief executive Ben van Beurden said he plans to return $8.5bn (£6.3bn) to investors by buying back their shares.

More on this here:

Shell’s profits have increased 14-fold thanks to soaring energy prices

Energy giant reports bumper results as UK households face 50% jump in bills

Ben Chapman3 February 2022 10:48

Shell’s profits justify windfall tax to support households amid rising bills, says Labour

Shell’s huge profits make the case for a windfall tax on energy giants to fund cost-of-living support measures, Labour said.

Oil giant Shell plans to hand more than £6bn to shareholders after its profits rose nearly fourteen-fold in the last quarter of 2021 amid soaring oil and gas prices.

Pat McFadden, Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, told Sky News : “They are planning share buybacks and increased dividends but they are not being asked to pay a penny towards the package.”

He said Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, was “not asking the oil and gas companies – who are making the most out of this – to pay a single penny towards this.”

“Instead he is doing it on a buy now, pay later way.”

Labour earlier this week proposed a windfall tax to stop energy producers benefiting from excess profits while households are hit with rising bills. This, combined with scrapping VAT from energy bills for one year, would save people £200 on bills.

Mr Sunak has ruled out a windfall tax on energy giants but plans to pay households £200 through a £5-£6bn government loan scheme.

The measure is only expected to cover around one-third of the bill increases that will be incurred after the rise in the energy price cap.

Liam James3 February 2022 10:25

UK households ‘to be given £200 rebates’ to cover soaring energy bills

UK households are to be offered discounts of around £200 to help with soaring energy bills but suppliers said the scheme would only cover around a third of the expected jump in gas and electricity costs this year.

Bills are expected to rocket from £1,277 to around £2,000 for the average home to reflect a huge jump in wholesale gas prices and the cost of dozens of suppliers that have gone bust in recent months.

Regulator Ofgem will unveil its new energy price cap at 11am on Thursday after bringing forward the announcement. The new cap will come into force from 1 April.

To help struggling families deal with the blow, a £5bn to £6bn government-backed loan scheme is to be launched, allowing suppliers to borrow money to cover upfront energy costs.

The plan will allow providers to claw back money over several years rather than hitting bill payers with all of the increase at once.

More on this here:

UK households to be given £200 rebates on energy bills under Treasury plans

£6bn plan falls short of what industry had asked for

Ben Chapman3 February 2022 10:10

Shell to give £6bn to shareholders as it posts huge profits amid soaring oil and gas prices

Oil giant Shell will hand more than £6bn to shareholders after increasing its profits nearly fourteen-fold amid soaring oil and gas prices.

Shell said that its pre-tax profit reached $16.3bn (£12 billion) in the last three months of 2021, up from just $1.2bn the quarter before.

It was able to sell gas for $8.80 per thousand cubic feet in the last quarter of 2021. Just six months earlier gas was selling it for $4.31, less than half.

The $8.5bn (£6.3bn) payment to shareholders includes £4.1bn from the sale of its oilfield in the US Permian Basin.

Ben van Beurden, chief executive, said: “We delivered very strong financial performance in 2021, and our financial strength and discipline underpin the transformation of our company.

“Today we are stepping up our distributions with the announcement of an 8.5 billion dollar share buyback programme and we expect to increase our dividend per share by around 4% for Q1 (first quarter of) 2022.”

Shell’s adjusted earnings reached £14.2bn in 2021, more than four times its level a year earlier.

Gas prices have been pushed up in the last year for many reasons, including Russia restricting supply to Europe and China buying up more international gas shipments.

Liam James3 February 2022 09:54

People will ‘always struggle’ with bills, says minister

A government minister said despite Rishi Sunak’s support measures some people were “always still going to struggle” with bills.

James Cleverly told Sky News the chancellor’s measures would be aimed at “keeping people employed, making sure they have got money coming in to their pockets through their pay packets”.

But he added: “For some people they are always still going to struggle, we are very, very conscious of that.

“But we really hope the combination of general financial support – keeping people in work, making sure that work pays, supporting people on the lowest incomes – and the very targeted measures specifically about energy costs will make sure that, we hope, the majority of people who are concerned about fuel bills get support.”

Liam James3 February 2022 09:27