Back in July, the Government announced that every household will start receiving £400 off their energy bills from October made in six instalments to help families with the cost-of-living crisis. While the discount is supposed to be provided to 29million households, Tory leadership contender Ms Truss – who will likely be the next Prime Minister according to polling results – is considering only providing that discount to families most in need.
According to Simon Clarke, a key backer Ms Truss and the chief secretary to the Treasury, “high earners” will lose out on the discount if his favoured candidate wins the leadership contest.
Mr Clarke told The Telegraph that it was “odd” that well-off households would benefit from the Government handout that was promised by former Chancellor Rishi Sunak in May before his resignation.
Mr Sunak, who running against Ms Truss, also pledged last week to continue with the discount scheme as planned if he wins the contest.
Mr Clarke told The Telegraph: “I do find it pretty odd that high earners are receiving £400 off their bills.
“As Conservatives, we ought to surely believe in targeting taxpayer money as best we can so that we actually achieve the best value and keep the burden on the exchequer as low as we can.
“It is not an ideal outcome, putting it very mildly, that people who don’t need it are receiving quite substantial sums of money from the state. That is not, frankly, a targeted package, is it?”
Another Ms Truss campaign source has said: “A huge amount of Rishi’s £15billion has gone to people who don’t need it. Giving £400 to everyone is ill-directed.”
But Ms Truss’ team are not thought to have decided on what level they would stop the discount at.
However, Ms Truss has previously argued against providing handouts to help households cope with skyrocketing bills.
It comes as horror price cap predictions have warned that the annual maximum tariff customers will have to fork out could reach over £4,000 by January, where millions of Britons will have to choose between heating and eating as fuel poverty looms on the horizon.
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They said: “Liz’s plan will not touch the sides for the majority of British families this winter and pensioners will get no help whatsoever.”
And while the plan to stop better-off households from getting the £400 winter discount appears to be on the cards, Ms Truss has also been warned that tax cuts may disproportionately help the better off.
Critics have also taken aim at Ms Truss as scrapping the green levy would only knock off £150 off bills, a drop in ocean compared to the £4000 plus bills households will face.
However, Ms Truss has also claimed she will do “all I can” to help households that are struggling this winter, and is reportedly looking into direct payments to poorer households, despite the rejection of handouts.
Mr Sunak’s camp has hit out at Ms Truss for this apparent U-turn, saying: “Taking action means providing direct support, which Truss had previously dismissed as ‘handouts’.”