Rebecca Evans MS, Minister for Finance and Local Government
People across Wales are facing an unprecedented cost-of-living crisis, fuelled by soaring energy bills. Day-to-day prices are going up as inflation rises.
This crisis is set to worsen from April as households feel the impact of the 54% increase in the energy price cap rise, which was announced by OFGEM earlier this month and the introduction of the biggest tax rises in almost 30 years.
As I publish the second supplementary Budget for 2021-22, I am today announcing a package of support, which amounts to more than £330m to help people throughout Wales manage their budgets and meet some of the rising costs-of-living during the next 12 months.
This package is in addition to the support we have already made available this winter, including the £200 Winter Fuel Support Scheme payment, which is available to some 350,000 people on low incomes.
At the heart of the package of support is a £150 cost-of-living payment, which will be provided to all households in properties in council tax bands A to D and to all households, which receive support from the Council Tax Reduction Scheme in all council tax bands. The total cost of this support is £152m.
I will also be making a further £25m available to local authorities in the form of a discretionary fund. They will be able to target this additional funding to help households which may be struggling.
The remainder of the funding is being invested in a number of other schemes to help people, with the costs-of-living. This additional support will be focused at vulnerable families, help with food costs and education.
This includes specific allocations of more than £100m being invested in the Discretionary Assistance Fund and the Winter Fuel Support Scheme in 2022-23.
The extra funding for the Winter Fuel Support Scheme in 2022-23 will ensure the scheme can once again provide people on low incomes with a non-repayable £200 cash payment towards their energy bills later this year. It will also mean more people will benefit from the support.
This support from the Welsh Government will be in addition to the UK Government’s £200 rebate on electricity bills in October. The electricity bill rebate, however, will have to be repaid by all bill payers – £40 will be added to everyone’s electricity bill each year for five years.
The extra funding for the Discretionary Assistance Fund in 2022-23 will ensure more people continue to receive urgent and emergency support when they need it. The Minister for Social Justice will make a further announcement about both of these schemes.
I look forward to joining the Minister for Social Justice and the Climate Change Minister at a cost-of-living summit with social partners and third sector organisations to discuss the crisis and our collective response on Thursday.
The second supplementary Budget will be published today.