News that the government has done a U-turn on the issue of a windfall tax on energy firms and is using it to fund help for bill payers will be widely welcomed, not least because it will give more help to those who are older and have disabilities.
This point was noted by the Resolution Foundation, which broadly welcomed the measures. It said: “Those with a disability and pensioners face higher risks of fuel stress than a typical household, which the Chancellor has rightly addressed with extra top-up support.”
The foundation noted that part of the support – a £650 credit – will partly go to the 3.7 million pensioners in the richest half of the population, but acknowledged that this “deadweight” is a result of the difficulties of targeting less well off pensioners, two thirds of whom do not get pension credit.
Ultimately, however, this is best news for those who are most likely to need items like easy access baths in their bathrooms, as they get the most cash.
That means anyone who is thinking of seeking funds to get a new bath fitted that is easier to use with a disability should go ahead, as there will not be a major financial disincentive to use it.
Indeed, it will be a very welcome thing for some to be able to enjoy a long, relaxing and often medicinally beneficial soak in a warm bath knowing that the water heating required will not be unaffordable.
The statement by the Chancellor Rishi Sunak outlined that the package would consist of the £650 payment to the lowest income households, a one-off Pensioner Cost of Living Payment of £300 for those receiving winter fuel allowance and a £150 payment for the six million people who receive non-means tested disability benefits. This is in addition to a £400 payment to all households.