Because of these unprecedented and difficult times, the Government have chosen to make more than £100 billion of additional support available to families this winter and next winter, on top of increasing the national living wage by a record 9.7% and uprating benefits by inflation.
Businesses do not know what Government help, if any, will be available for energy bill support from April next year. They include nursing homes, supported housing schemes and older people’s schemes, which have been able to pass on lower costs to vulnerable residents. Without help, costs will significantly increase for those vulnerable people and affect the long-term viability of care and support services. What are the Government doing to address the issue?
I am very grateful that the hon. Lady asked that question. She is absolutely right; a number of businesses, charities and organisations such as care homes are extremely vulnerable because of the big increase in energy prices. All I would say is that she should look at what the Government have done this winter. With around £18 billion of support, we have demonstrated that we are aware of those concerns. Early in the new year, we will bring forward an appropriate package on what will happen from next April.