Households can save £500 on heating bills by joining “a national mission” to cut energy use by 15 per cent in response to Russia’s “blackmail”, says Jeremy Hunt.
The Chancellor urged the public to “play their part” by following the government’s advice to reach the goal – in stark contrast to Liz Truss’ refusal to copy the EU by offering official advice.
Giving evidence to MPs, Mr Hunt said the public had been given “a cushion” with the extension of the domestic bill freeze, albeit by £500 more at a typical cost of £3,000 a year.
But he warned that support would end in spring 2024 – regardless of energy prices at that time – and said of the 15 percent target: “That applies to every household.
“We think the £500 we are offering should help people save on current gas prices next year if people do the 15 per cent they put themselves in the amount they pay in subsequent years , could save £500.”
Mr Hunt said: “We need people to change their behavior,” adding: “It’s a national mission to make sure we can’t be blackmailed by the likes of Putin.
“Ultimately, everyone has to pay for their own energy costs and think about how they can reduce their energy consumption.”
The Chancellor also promised “a social tariff” from 2024 – to deliver “equally lower energy bills to all people on low incomes” – while emphasizing the technical difficulty.
It would mean “marrying” tax and benefit data, but he said, “It’s a very tough operational challenge, but that’s the direction we want to go.”
Earlier, the Chancellor had not denied that he was the source behind a claim that Britain would seek a “Swiss-style deal” to improve the Brexit deal – but insisted he would not say so.
Mr Hunt also revealed he has asked his officials to investigate how much would be raised by scrapping Non-Dom status – in an apparent attempt to refute Labour’s claim it would raise £3billion a year bring in
Arguing that non-doms are currently paying around £8billion a year, he defended the tax loophole – exploited by Rishi Sunak’s wife – telling MPs: “Ireland has a non-dom regime. France has a non-dom regime.
“These are people who are very mobile, and I want to make sure we’re not doing anything that inadvertently causes us to lose more money than we raise.”
The chancellor also defended his decision in last week’s autumn statement to cut a bank tax by lowering the “surcharge rate” from 8 percent to 3 percent.
That was fair given the increase in corporate income tax from 19 to 25 percent. “If you add a 3 percent surcharge, they pay higher marginal rates on their profits,” Mr Hunt said.