DUMFRIESHIRE, Clydesdale and Tweeddale MP David Mundell has welcomed measures announced in this week’s budget as an important step in providing local families with further help towards the cost of living.
In particular, Mr Mundell welcomed confirmation that the Energy Price Guarantee, which helps shield UK households from higher energy bills and which was due to end on 31 March, will now be extended for a further three months.
In a boost to local drivers, the fuel duty freeze which has been in place since 2011 is to be continued, and the 5p per litre cut in duty for petrol and diesel which was announced last March is to be kept in place for a further 12 months.
And the local MP has also welcomed an announcement that childcare costs for people on Universal Credit, who are either moving into work or increasing their hours, will in future be paid in advance rather than have to be claimed back as at present.
David Mundell MP said: “I know just how tough many local people are still finding it to deal with the cost of living, so these measures which have been announced by the UK Government will go some way towards giving them the further help they need at this time.
“The Energy Price Guarantee, which limits the amount suppliers can charge for every unit of energy used, has been crucial in helping many families through the winter months. So I very much welcome the decision to extend it for a further three months until July, when it’s forecast that bills will start to fall as a result of a drop in wholesale gas costs.
“In a largely rural area like ours, the ability to drive is essential for many people so the cost of petrol and diesel can make up a big part of the family budget. That’s why the decision to keep in place both the fuel duty freeze and the 5p per litre cut in fuel duty for a further 12 months is good news, and one which I have lobbied the Chancellor on over recent weeks.
“I also strongly support the announcement on childcare costs for people claiming Universal Credit. Currently, many parents on Universal Credit can recover 85% of their childcare costs, but they have to pay them upfront first and then claim the costs back. Making this change to upfront payment for people moving into work or increasing their hours will help the family budgets of parents claiming UC.
“I believe these measures will be widely welcomed across our area and are further evidence of a government that is focused on helping individuals and families who are feeling the squeeze of increased prices and bills.”