HOUSEHOLDS have been promised more help with energy bills in today's Queen's Speech.
At the opening of parliament today, the Government laid out that the cost of living crisis was a priority.
But households shouldn't expect more free cash any time soon.
The speech, read by Prince Charles today, did not lay out any details about immediate cost of living help from the Government.
Instead, he said an Energy Security Bill would mean the energy price cap would continue beyond 2023.
It is the first time the Queen has not read the speech in 59 years.
Charles, 73, was granted powers to deliver the televised speech on the Government's legislative programme alongside Prince William in a historic change to protocol.
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The energy price cap was originally brought in as a temporary measure to help improve competition in the energy market.
The Government also said it would bring down the cost of heat pumps in a bid to encourage more households to switch to green energy.
From this month, families can apply for grants of up to £6,000 to help cover the costs of heat pump.
But the grants don't cover the full cost of the heat pump, which is often as much as £10,000 – compared to a typical cost of a new boiler of £1,500.
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In the Queen's Speech, the Government said: “We will be ready to take further steps, if needed, to support households."
Under the Energy Security Bill, announced today, the energy price cap will remain in place beyond its planned end of 2023.
It said the move would protect 22 million households who are current on a default or variable energy tariff.
The Government also said it would support the industry to increase investment in heat pumps, and appoint Ofgem as the regulator for heat networks to ensure "consumers get a fair price and reliable supply of heat".
Responding to the announcement, Jonathan Brearley, chief executive of energy regulator Ofgem, said: "The Energy Bill provides a clear direction of travel to boost our clean home-grown energy, reduce reliance on global fossil fuels and drive us towards a secure and carbon neutral future."
MORE HELP IS NEEDED
But experts have warned the Government's help does not go far enough.
Richard Eagling, senior personal finance expert at NerdWallet, said: “No doubt many people will have been hoping for more mention of short-term financial measures to support those struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.
"Indeed, almost a quarter of UK adults are finding it more difficult to keep up with monthly bills compared to a year ago and the situation is only likely to get worse.
"Now, it's vital that the government outlines a plan regarding its long and short-term strategy to fuel economic growth and help households cope."
Last month, millions of households started to receive a £150 council tax rebate to help cover the cost of rising energy bills.
What else was announced in the Queen’s Speech?
- A Brexit bonanza to rip up £1billion of EU red tape still slapped on businesses
- A ban on eco goons locking onto buildings and blockading vital services
- A crackdown on kids skipping school with new attendance rules
- Prosecuting tech bosses for flouting tough new social media rules
- Rights for renters from shameless landlord chucking them out
- Letting councils turn streets into al fresco dining hubs
- Blocking ferry companies that don't pay minimum wage from ports
- A British Bill of Rights to wrestle back powers from EU judges
- Powers for local authorities to force owners to use empty properties
- Giving local residents a say over street names
- Striking out with trade deals with Australia and New Zealand
- Protections for Northern Ireland veterans from being hounded
- Banning fake online reviews in a digital crackdown
- Outlawing cruel gender conversion therapy practices
- Driving out dodgy money and criminal gangs
It comes as the energy price cap shot up 54% to an average of £1,971 a year.
But further increases are on the way, with the cap expected to rocket by another 32% in October.
In October, households will receive a £200 reduction on their energy bill to help ease the increase – but they will have to pay the money back in £40 instalments over the net five years.
Other Government help includes the £150 Warm Home Discount, which will become available to low income households in from October.
Households can also get £25 in cold weather payments if the temperature drops below freezing for a sustained period in their area, and Winter Fuel Payments of £300 to those of State Pension Age.
It comes as the regulator warned that "robust enforcement action” will be taken if energy companies are found to have treated consumers unfairly when increasing direct debit payments.
It said a “very invasive” review is under way into the way energy companies use direct debits.
There are concerns that many households have seen their energy direct debits increase at a much faster rate than they should have.
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