Sunak’s measures are too little, too late for Britain’s poorest


Show caption ‘Taxpayers are covering two-thirds of Rishi Sunak’s energy support to help pay bills.’ Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters Sunak’s measures are too little, too late for Britain’s poorest Letters The one-off payments will only cover about half the predicted energy bill rise and will do nothing to tackle inequality, writes Alasdair Macdonald. Plus letters from Jenny Jones, Barbara Holroyd, Sue Finch and Peter Jones Sun 29 May 2022 17.31 BST Share on Facebook

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Rishi Sunak’s measures are one-off payments, and the basic £400 covers only half of the projected average energy cost rise of £800 (Sunak U-turns on ‘energy profits levy’ in £15bn cost of living package, 26 May). Even those who get the largest payouts only get them once. This piece of window-dressing to obscure the squalid conduct and corruption of this government does nothing significant to alleviate the growing poverty in the UK. People need a much better level of guaranteed income and greater employment rights and security.

But we also need a radical change in taxation from income to land, property and wealth taxes. All tax avoidance allowances should be closed. Utilities should be returned to public ownership or to far greater public control, and management should include employees and consumers.

There are many things that can be done to restore a greater degree of equity among the population. The hegemonic economic paradigm of this government is not a law of nature as the chancellor and other ministers are presenting it. It is a human construct and can be changed by human actions so that its benefits are equitably distributed.

Alasdair Macdonald


• The government has taken a great idea and executed it badly. The oil and gas industry is walking away with the vast majority of its excess profits from energy price rises, while taxpayers are covering two-thirds of Rishi Sunak’s energy support to help pay bills.

Instead of lowering the cost of future bills by expanding cheap renewables faster and insulating homes, the government is giving a massive tax discount to oil and gas producers to invest in fossil fuels. In what world does it make sense to expand production of the high-cost fuel that threatens life on our planet, while doing nothing extra to get more of the cheap green stuff?

Jenny Jones

Green party, House of Lords

• Multiple homeowners will avail themselves of the £400 on both primary and secondary homes. As there are around 500,000 second homes in the UK, that’s roughly an additional £200m that could be used more equitably. Yet again, we’re told that it’s too difficult to ascertain which are second homes. As with the massive fraud that occurred during the pandemic due to the inability of governments to regulate the formation of new companies, money is being leeched to those who don’t need it. Those who have more, get more. The meek among us can only look forward to inheriting the earth.

Barbara Holroyd

Erpingham, Norfolk

• It is not entirely accurate that “every household” will receive £400 from the government. There are households (mine included – one of more than 350 in Northumberland alone) that have no mains electricity so will not receive this help. This is despite a reliance on diesel for electricity (unless lucky enough to have wind and solar power, out of reach of most), the cost of which has almost doubled in a year, and on oil or wood for heating, for which there is no price cap and where cost increases are eye-watering.

We face the same cost of living challenges as everyone else. These households have been ignored. We are powerless in every sense.

Sue Finch

Elsdon, Northumberland

• The government plans to give me £400 towards my energy costs. It seems that I might get another £150 because I am a pensioner. I don’t need the payments so will donate them to a charity supporting those who are really struggling because of this government.

Peter Jones

Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire

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