Minister will ‘look closely at all options’ on domestic finance

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A Treasury minister has said Orris Johnson’s government “recognizes the pressure” that people are facing on their household finances, including their energy bills, and will “continue to look closely at all options”.

Treasury Chief Secretary Simon Clark told lawmakers that in the autumn budget the government “took a number of measures to help families with the cost of living”.

His remarks came after the Commons heard that Labor would tax North Sea oil and gas companies to help reduce VAT on UK energy bills.

But Labor’s VAT cut proposal lost to 229 by 319 votes, a majority of 90, with Anne Marie Morris (Newton Abbott) the only Tory rebelling to support it.

During the party’s Opposition Day debate setting out Labour’s plans for VAT cuts in household energy bills, Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves said: “Our plan will save families £200 off their bills, a total of those Up to £600 for those who need it. Most.

“We will pay for it with an unexpected tax on North Sea oil and gas profits.

“These companies have made profits largely because of the spurt in prices.

“So much so, that some in the industry have referred to rising energy prices as a cash machine for producers and their shareholders.”

Jackup rigs used in the North Sea oil and gas industry are silhouetted against the sky at sunset at the Port of Dundee (Jane Barlow/PA). , PA collection

He also accused Chancellor Rishi Sunak of being “hidden”, adding: “Was the chancellor at the party when it happened next door or was he taking pictures at his window?”

Responding, Mr Clarke said: “No family in this government is under any illusions about the challenges they face with their household finances and we will certainly continue to look closely at all the options that exist.”

“The trade secretaries are meeting with the industry regularly and the government is committed to do the best we can to protect consumers.

“We have worked not only on energy bills, but in dozens of ways to support working families and indeed our record in handling the economy during a pandemic during the recovery of the last decade reflects our commitment to being seen right by the British people. Is.”

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