A PACKAGE helping people through the cost of living crisis has been welcomed by Worcestershire MPs and the manager of a foodbank.

But a former parliamentary candidate for Worcester has questioned the timing of the announcement.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the package of measures, worth £15 billion in total, on Thursday.

The Chancellor announced every household would see an energy bill discount of £400 this October, and for the poorest households this would be a payment of £650, paid in part through a windfall tax on oil and gas firms' profits.

Worcester News: ANNOUNCEMENT: Chancellor Rishi Sunak. Picture: OliScarf/PAANNOUNCEMENT: Chancellor Rishi Sunak. Picture: OliScarf/PA

Grahame Lucas, manager of Worcester Foodbank, said: "This fresh package of support is far better targeted at low-income households and others most at risk of crisis.

“It will cushion the blow of soaring energy bills and other rising costs that are forcing record numbers of people to turn to us for help.

Worcester News: FOODBANK: Worcester Foodbank Grahame LucasFOODBANK: Worcester Foodbank Grahame Lucas

"We'd like to see the government provide longer-term security by boosting benefits to close the gap with inflation."

Robin Walker, Worcester MP and a minister in the government, revealed he and colleagues had been speaking to the Chancellor “for some time” asking for more help for people, after hearing from constituents on the doorstep during the election campaign.

“I heard from constituents concerned help was coming as a loan," the MP said.

"I am glad it is a grant rather than a loan so people don’t have to pay back any of the help that is offered.

“We have to be careful generally about windfall taxes, but the circumstances this year are extraordinary ones.”

Worcester News: MPS: Nigel Huddleston, Robin Walker and Harriett BaldwinMPS: Nigel Huddleston, Robin Walker and Harriett Baldwin

Asked on critics' comments the support wouldn't go far enough the MP said: “It almost doubles the support households are getting, and for those on the lowest incomes it is even more than that.”

Councillor Lynn Denham, who stood for Labour at the last general election, said the windfall tax had been something they had been calling for, for months, and people could have received help earlier if the Chancellor had acted earlier in the year.


READ MORE: What has Rishi Sunak said today? Brits on Universal Credit get £650 cost of living payment

READ MORE: Rishi Sunak announcement: Chancellor outlines further cost of living support - key points


Cllr Denham said: “People are desperately in need of help through the cost of living crisis. Wages are benefits have just not kept up with rising prices.

“I question the timing of the announcement. It comes at a time (after Sue Gray’s partygate report was published) that the government want to move the agenda on.”

Worcester News:


Harriett Baldwin, West Worcestershire’s MP, said: “My postbag is seeing an increasing number of people who are worried about rising prices now and in the future.

“This is an extremely worrying economic situation and I welcome the Chancellor’s measures to help some of the worst off in society as well as giving a helping hand to households across West Worcestershire.

“The government has spent a great deal of public funds to support people – through furlough, through specific business support and now extra measures to help with rising costs.

Worcester News:

“I’m signposting constituents to a range of support measures now available to them, and it is helpful to see the timely measures set out today to offer reassurance for local people as they plan for extra costs in the winter time.”

Nigel Huddleston, MP for Mid-Worcestershire, said: "I know that many of my constituents are struggling with their bills and worried about their family finances so I welcome the measures announced by the Chancellor.

"While it is impossible for any government to solve every problem, we must do what we can to help the millions of families struggling with the cost of living.

"This announcement represents a £15 billion package which will support the most vulnerable one-third of households with £1,200 each, and will help ease the pressures faced by many across my constituency.”

“We’ve always been clear that we want to see significant investment to help protect out energy security, but that no options were off the table. Our announcement today reflects that. This new tax ensures the extraordinary and unexpected profits that oil and gas companies have benefited from are taxed fairly, and provides a significant incentive for companies to invest.”