Martin Lewis: How to claim working from home tax relief
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The financial journalist and founder of Money Saving Expert is calling on the Government to assist those who are struggling to pay their bills ahead of the energy price hike in April. On The Martin Lewis Money Show last month, the consumer expert said the energy price cap is now expected to rise by over 40 percent in April 2022. As a result of this, at the time, his advice to households was they were better off “doing nothing” for the moment as even the cheapest fixed tariffs were proving to be expensive.
Changes to the energy price cap are set to take place later this year with customers being reminded to look out for two key dates.
The new energy price cap will be officially confirmed in February, with the rise making it onto consumer energy bills from April.
Speaking to PA news agency, Martin Lewis said: “This year is going to be a very tough year for many people. The energy price crisis needs substantial intervention from the Government.
“We are going to see a minimum 50 percent increase in energy prices in the system and that is unsustainable for many.”
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In light of the pending energy bill hike, fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA) warned that the average domestic energy bill has already risen by over £230 per customer compared to the same time last year.
Last month, the NEA sounded the alarm that changes to the price cap in April may lead to the average combined domestic dual fuel bill going up by a further £550 per year.
Mr Lewis added: “We need to look at what we can do now and how we can protect those people who will need to choose between heating and eating.
“There are already some who are having to make that choice. We need to look at the whole structure of the energy market.
“The Government didn’t intervene early enough so we’re all paying for the market collapses we’re seeing.”
In the later half of 2021, multiple energy providers went into administration amid the growing crisis within the energy sector.
As a result, the Government made the decision to take over certain firms, such as Bulb, which collapsed in November.
Ofgem, the energy industry’s regulator, has confirmed that changes have since been made to how much other energy firms, and eventually consumers, will be forced to pay to fund competitors if they fall into administration.
However, Martin Lewis is among the many public figures calling for greater protections to be put in place to prevent the current situation from worsening.
Specifically, the financial expert is calling for support for those on low incomes who cannot shop around for the best deals or who are stuck on prepayment tariffs.
Mr Lewis added: “What’s coming in April is a seismic hit for fuel bills which is going to be astronomical.
“The Government has been meeting the energy industry but they’ve not been meeting the consumer groups. Certainly, I’ve not heard of any taking place.
“They have to sort this now because if we leave this before it’s too late it will be a disaster.”
In response to Mr Lewis’ warning, a Government spokesperson said: “Protecting consumers is our top priority which is why our Energy Price Cap will remain in place.
“We are also supporting vulnerable and low-income households further through initiatives such as the £500 million Household Support Fund, Warm Home Discount, Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments.
“Domestic fuels such as gas and electricity are also already subject to the reduced rate of five percent of VAT.”
Those interested in applying for any of the discounts listed above can do so via the Government’s website.
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