Martin Lewis urges Rishi Sunak to 'rethink' energy levy

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Martin Lewis appeared on Good Morning Britain to discuss Rishi Sunak’s “loan” plan where energy bills will see £200 taken off in October which will then be paid back with increasing bills by £40 over the course of five years. But Mr Lewis said the loan scheme would not actually help people and explained the increase of bills over the next few years may coincide with additional costs elsewhere meaning people feel the pinch for longer. Instead, Mr Lewis wanted the Chancellor to “rethink” the scheme and suggested an alternative would be to take the £200 and “pay it out in general taxation”. 

Speaking to Good Morning Britain, Mr Lewis disliked the plans from the treasury to try and ease the financial burden of energy bills and wanted the Government to come up with a better plan.

He warned: “This looks like a loan, it feels like a loan, it is not a loan.

“This scheme is not a loan, people have to understand that, it is not regulated by the FCA, it does not go on your credit file, you cannot opt-out…

“Take four people who live in a houseshare, they get a £200 discount in October, they all decide to go their separate ways and get their own places and they will all have £40 added to their bills and that will continue for five years.

“So they will have a £200 discount and £800 in total added back… it is not a loan, it is not related to an individual, it is simply all bills go down by £200 and the bills go up by £200 over the following five years.”

Mr Lewis begged Mr Sunak to rethink the plan and said “people don’t want this” and do not want to take the “gamble” of things being cheaper now but more expensive later.

GMB presenter Kate Garraway challenged Mr Lewis on the point and argued the Chancellor may want to lessen the pinch on billpayers by spreading out the payments.

She asked what would be the replacement if not this to which he replied: “The most obvious thing is to take the £200 and pay it out in general taxation.

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“It’s as simple as that, when we did this poll… the findings showed that in every single age and category of income including those receiving benefits the majority of people if they had the choice would opt-out [of the scheme].

“There is no net gain to people from this… it is a cash flow move.

“It was an attempt by the Chancellor to smooth things out but people don’t want it.”

Mr Lewis conceded he did not like “berating” politicians when they got things wrong but urged the Government to consider the issues with the scheme and come up with something else.

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Earlier this month, Mr Sunak announced a range of measures to help Brits with the cost of living crisis and the increase of bills which are set to hit in April.

Aside from the energy levy, houses in the council tax bands A to D would receive a rebate of £150 which does not need to be paid back.

Local authorities would receive £150m to make discretionary payments to the neediest.

The eligibility criteria for the warm homes discount was also widened meaning a third more of households could receive a £150 discount in October.

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