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Government urged to take action to reduce energy bills for pensioners and vulnerable people

MPs have urged the government to take action to reduce energy bills for pensioners and other vulnerable groups.

Theresa Villiers, a former Tory cabinet minister, and several other MPs put forward ideas for further action during business, energy and industrial strategy questions on Tuesday.

Ms Villiers told the House of Commons: “The price cap, the cut in fuel duty and warm homes discount are providing vital help with bills, but will the government commit to further action domestically and internationally to try to get energy prices down to help pensioners and other vulnerable groups?”

Remove renewables surcharge, MP suggests

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “[She] is absolutely right to identify this as an issue and that’s why we’re working not only within this government, but across G7 partners to make sure that we get energy supply, diverse sources of supply which can keep prices down.”

Karl McCartney, Conservative MP for Lincoln, said: “An effective way for household energy bills in Lincoln and across the UK to be cut by 25% right now is by the removal of the renewables surcharge on everyone’s bills, even temporarily.

“Has the minister and his colleagues put that simple idea to their Treasury colleagues at all?”

Business minister George Freeman replied: “I can assure you lots of ideas have been put to Treasury colleagues.

“The truth is that the falling cost of UK renewables, offshore wind now down 60% through the contracts for difference, is the best protection against global supply chain volatility and this country has led the way.”

Government’s plans ‘pretty miserable’, Labour MP says

Labour’s shadow climate change minister, Alan Whitehead, said the government’s plans to assist with rising energy prices were “pretty miserable” and “will not remotely cover the bulk of the increases and we still don’t know how some of them are to be delivered”.

Mr Kwarteng said the government is continually reviewing what is happening in the market, but said: “He will know that the next price cap period will be set in August and even he with his gifts of prophecy will not know what the price cap level will be in August.”

In response to an earlier question, he said a £9.1bn package of support has already been outlined, and a £500m extension of the household support fund was announced last week. He also told MPs an energy strategy would be published “very shortly”.

‘No easy answers’ to cost of living crisis, Johnson says

It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the Cabinet there are “no easy answers” to resolving the cost of living crisis.

However, he said measures such as raising the threshold at which people pay national insurance would save a typical employee £330 this year and mean 70% of workers would be better off from July, and added the £22bn being provided by the government would support those most in need.

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