‘Rough justice’: The people set to lose out from Rishi Sunak’s cost of living package

Large families with children are set to lose out in Rishi Sunak's new package of measures to help those struggling with soaring energy bills.

Source > Yahoo News

By Nadine Batchelor-Hunt Political Correspondent, Yahoo News UK

30 May 2022, 18:40

The chancellor announced £15bn worth of financial support last week following months of criticism for not going far enough to support households suffering the most from the rising cost of living.

The measures came after Ofgem boss Jonathan Brearley warned MPs that the energy bill price cap is set to hit £2,800 in October – meaning it will have more than doubled in just 12 months.

Energy bills already soared on 1 April after the energy price cap increased by 54%, adding £693 to the average household bill.

Energy bills are set to rise again this winter (Yahoo News UK/Flourish/Ofgem)

Elsewhere, soaring inflation continues to drive up the costs of essentials like food and fuel – with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) this month reporting the CPI hit 9% in the 12 months to April 2022.

Among the measures in Sunak’s mini-budget to tackle cost of living squeeze are:

  • £400 to all households to help with energy bills
  • £650 for over 8 million households on means-tested benefits
  • £300 top up of the Winter Fuel Payment going to all pensioner households
  • £150 to around 6 million people who receive a non-means tested disability benefit
  • £500 million extra for the Household Support Fund from October 2022
Annual effects of all policy changes implemented in 2022 by equivalised after housing cost household income vingtile 2022-23. (Resolution Foundation)


The clear winners of Sunak’s latest spending commitments are pensioners, who will all receive £400 off their energy bills plus a £300 boost to the warm homes discount.

Some pensioners may also receive other support, depending on eligibility – such as an extra £650 if claiming benefits like pension credit, and an extra £150 if receiving non-means tested benefits like Personal Independence Payments (PIP).

Poorer households are also benefitting from the new measures. Sunak’s package means the government is offsetting on average 82% of the energy price rise – which rises to 93% for the poorest households.

Analysis from the Resolution Foundation reveals the new measures target support at those who will suffer the most from higher energy prices. (Resolution Foundation)

Described by the Resolution Foundation as “highly progressive”, Sunak’s recent financial announcements on spending and tax mean:

  • households in the bottom quintile gain £1,195
  • household in the middle quintile gain £799
  • households in the top quintile lose £456

“The chancellor has delivered a bold and well targeted support package which, when combined with his previous support, will almost entirely offset the rise in energy bills for low-income families, as well as the majority of bill rises for everyone else,” said Mike Brewer, chief economist at the Resolution Foundation, on Friday.

He added: “The biggest winners from yesterday’s package are wealthy pensioners who may not need extra support, but still stand to gain £850 – while large families on low incomes may feel rough justice as their higher energy usage isn’t reflected in flat-rate lump sum payments.”


The biggest losers are working-age households on benefits with children, who would have been better off if the government had uprated benefits inline with inflation in October – which is currently at 9%.

While they will receive a £650 one-off payment, this does not take into account factors like energy usage.

Households on benefits with two or more children would be better off if the government had uprating benefits. (Resolution Foundation)

Households with three or more children on average spend £500 more on energy each year than those without – yet they will receive the same one-off payment.

And households which do not qualify for any benefits, but may still be struggling with energy bills, will receive just £400.

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