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Johnson defends energy cost relief package after Sunak warns of more rises ahead

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oris Johnson has defended the Government’s package to ease the impact of the cost-of-living crisis after the Chancellor said he could not rule out further rises later in the year.

Rishi Sunak on Thursday announced a £9 billion package, including a one-off repayable £200 discount and a £150 rebate on council tax bills, and £144 million to councils to support vulnerable households amid surging energy prices.

The Chancellor added he “doesn’t have a crystal ball” and warned households they will have to adjust to higher energy prices in the future.

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves branded it a “buy now, pay later scheme that loads up costs for tomorrow”.

The Prime Minister defended the measures as a “mega package”, adding: “I don’t think we have seen anything like it in recent memory.”

Speaking to 5 News, he said: “We know the cause, it’s been driven by inflation in energy costs around the world, particularly the gas price spike that we are seeing. We have got to help people, I think that Rishi’s package is extremely good.”

He did not directly answer a question, also raised in Parliament, about a windfall tax on fuel companies like Shell which have profited from the spike in global prices.

Everybody can see that that’s a massive commitment

He said the world is experiencing a “bumpy period post-Covid” with “inflation, blockages in supply chains as the global economy recovers”.

He added: “I think when it comes to taking huge sums of taxpayers’ money, £9.1 billion, transferring it to help people with the cost of their heating and their energy, everybody can see that that’s a massive commitment.”

At press conference on Thursday, Mr Sunak announced the package following word from Ofgem the energy regulator, that bills are set to soar by 54% for 22 million households from the beginning of April, adding £693 to the annual bills of a typical household.

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