The House of Commons returned today (Thursday) and Winchester MP Steve Brine wasted no time in pressing the new Business Secretary on the package of help announced for those facing rising energy bills this Winter.
Mr Brine quizzed Ministers on plans announced in recent weeks, including yesterday’s assistance for businesses, charities and schools as well as help for households revealed earlier this month by Liz Truss just hours before news of the death of Her Majesty the Queen was revealed.
The “Energy Bill Relief Scheme” will provide businesses, charities, schools and hospitals with a discount on wholesale gas and electricity prices worth up to half the price of expected energy prices this winter, giving business owners certainty on their bills until the end of March 2023. The equivalent “Energy Price Guarantee” means a typical UK household will now pay up to an average £2,500 a year on their energy bill for the next two years saving at least £1,000 a year based on current energy prices. It is in addition to the £400 energy bills discount for all households announced by Rishi Sunak as Chancellor.
The MP for Winchester and Chandler’s Ford asked the new Secretary of State for Businesses, Energy and Industrial Strategy about help for residents of park homes and others living in flats or apartments where the energy bill is not paid direct but passed to tenants by a single owner, often as part of their rent. He has been seeking clarification on how these residents will receive the previously announced £400 energy rebate – which comes in October – because they cannot get this sum credited automatically to individual bills.
Mr Brine asked; “Where do residents of park homes and shared blocks in Winchester stand in respect of this new energy price guarantee? Are they being treated as businesses because if so, they're being treated as business units, not domestic units, which of course they are?”
The Secretary of State responded; “I am grateful to my him for asking an important question on something that constituents will be concerned about. We will legislate to ensure that the cut in prices is fed through to residents, so therefore people running park homes or blocks of fats will have to pass on the benefit. That will be a legal requirement.”
And went on to confirm in the House that residents of both park homes and so-called ‘mansion blocks’ would likely be at the forefront of continued support in relation to residential help, rather than business help.
The MP added; “I am really impressed with the help for both domestic energy bill users as well as businesses across Winchester & Chandler’s Ford. It is an issue that has been raised with me consistently during my Summer Tour this year which included time spent chatting with businesses, including in Alresford just before the House returned from its Summer break. Government can’t help everyone or solve every problem but in this energy crisis caused by Putin war we can wrap our arms around people and I’m proud the new Prime Minister is doing exactly that.”
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