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Single mums will be '£2,500 better off' Rishi Sunak tells Martin Lewis

Yorkshire Live logo Yorkshire Live 26/05/2022 Charlotte Smith

Rishi Sunak said single mothers will be £2,500 better off this year during an interview with Martin Lewis about the Chancellor's newly announced cost-of-living support package - which includes a £650 payment for eight million households. Earlier today (May 16), Mr Sunak unveiled to MPs in the House of Commons the government's new multi-billion pound package that's set to help UK families struggling with soaring household and energy bills as inflation reaches record-high rates.

Following up on Mr Sunak's new financial support measures, MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis announced on social media that he will be quizzing the Chancellor this evening in a livestream that'll be broadcast online. During the interview, the financial expert grilled Mr Sunak over the groups of people who may miss out on the support package he announced this afternoon.

He asked what happens to the people who do not qualify for Universal Credit, but are just above that level' and are still being affected by the cost-of-living crisis. Using questions his followers on social media put forward to be asked in the interview as examples, Martin said: "Victoria on Facebook [said] what help is given to those who are just above the minimum wage but are already scraping by without these increases starting, earning £50 above the low income families is hitting the purse hard?"

READ MORE: Rishi Sunak's cost of living plan as he announces £650 payment for 8m households

He followed up by another question that was sent to him by Helen: "We are just over the threshold with duel income and we've cut back on so much, we're scraping by and get no government help. We live in a new build house, it's energy efficient, the government stipulated that yet they're still charging and arm and a leg, how does he expect working families to live and survive?"

A third came from Sam, who told Martin: "I'm a full time employed single female earning £18,000 a year, what help will I and others in the same situation get?" Before letting Mr Sunak answer, Martin added: "They know they're getting the £400, but if you're on £18,000 and you're only getting £400, or £550 with the council tax perhaps, then a £1,500 a year rise on energy alone when everything else is going up is still pretty close to unaffordable."

Rishi Sunak answering a question during a live Q&A with Martin Lewis © Martin Lewis/YouTube Rishi Sunak answering a question during a live Q&A with Martin Lewis

Mr Sunak replied by reiterating the importance of "prioritising those most in need", but also providing support to people in the circumstances Martin describes. "I'm glad you acknowledged that as it's not right to say people are getting no help," Mr Sunak said. "Actually most people in that situation will be getting £550 of support from the government over the course of this year, a £150 through the council rebate and now £400 in October."

He continued: "And for things you rightly said we should concentrate as much as we can on the people most in need, accepting that no government and no Chancellor could sit here and say we could solve the problem for everyone. I would be lying if I said I could, and anyone who pretends that we can is not being straight with people. So it's right we prioritise on those who are most in need, but we do as we said have a universal support in place."

The Chancellor told Martin and viewers tuning into the livestream about the "many other things" the government will do that will help the people mentioned, including raising the national living wage and raising the national insurance threshold, which Mr Sunak says will jump to £12,500 in July, meaning "that person (Sam) that you talked about is going to receive a £330 tax cut".

Chancellor Rishi Sunak leaves number 11, Downing Street. © Getty Images Chancellor Rishi Sunak leaves number 11, Downing Street.

He continued: "We cut fuel duty, we changed the Universal Credit taper for those people who are moving into work. So if you look at for example, and everybody has different circumstances, a single mother with two kids working full time on the National living wage and renting, as a result of all the changes we are making to the tax system and the benefit system and the support we've put in place, that single mum is going to be better off by something like £2,500, that they'll have extra this year.

"So it will help them combat some of the rising bills they're seeing, and I'm not saying that is going to necessarily solve the entire problem. But it does mean we are providing support to people in the circumstances you describe and that'll help them met both energy bills and other rising costs."

It comes after Ofgem bosses warned that the Ukraine crisis means average energy costs are set to soar again this autumn, with the existing £2,000 price cap predicted to surge to £2,800 by October. Speaking to MPs, Ofgem chief executive officer Jonathan Brearley said: "I know this is a very distressing time for customers but I do need to be clear with this committee, with customers and with the government about the likely price implications for October."

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