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UK's Sunak sets out financial support to help with energy bills

By Reuters

LONDON -The British government will step in to take the sting out of rising energy prices, finance minister Rishi Sunak said on Thursday, setting out a series of financial support schemes.

Energy prices for millions of British households are set to soar from April after the energy regulator said it would increase its price cap by 54%. Sunak said the government’s help would provide the majority of households with 350 pounds, just over half that rise. [nL1N2UE0PP]

“For me to stand here and pretend we don’t have to adjust to paying higher prices would be wrong and dishonest. But what we can do is take the sting out of a significant price shock for millions of families by making sure the increase in prices is smaller initially and spread over a longer period,” Sunak told parliament.

“In total, the government is going to help around 28 million households this year. Taken together this is a plan to help with the cost of living worth around 9 billion pounds ($12 billion).”

The measures include a 200 pound discount on electricity bills for all households from October, to be repaid over five years, and a 150 pound rebate on council tax bills for around 80% of households in England from April which would not need to be repaid, he said.

Sunak said the government would also provide discretionary funding of 144 million pounds to help people on low incomes who either do not pay council tax or are in properties that will not receive the rebate.

($1 = 0.7379 pounds)