The Isle of Man Government is bringing forward two financial schemes to support those on the lowest incomes and families receiving Child Benefit, following today’s announcement by Manx Gas that tariffs will rise a further 58% from Friday 1 April 2022.
The payments outlined below are intended to support households over the coming six-month period, after which the situation will be reviewed.
Energy Support Payment
Further to Winter Bonus and Additional Winter Bonus payments made in January and March this year, a £300 Energy Support Payment will be available to households responsible for housing costs and receiving income-related benefit. In addition, people whose incomes are marginally above the levels at which Income Support would be payable may be able to claim a proportion of the Energy Support Payment. The total cost of this measure is estimated to be just over £1m, benefitting up to 3,500 households.
Family Support Payment
Additionally, £1.8million will be available to help more than 6,000 families in our community through a Family Support Payment for families receiving Child Benefit. This will provide all families receiving full rate Child Benefit with £300 per household, with a reduced rate payable to those whose household income is assessed as being between £50,000 and £80,000. Furthermore, an additional £50 will be paid to all families receiving Child Benefit with at least two children, and £100 for families with at least three children. The payments for additional children will not be reduced according to household income.
The aim is for the first Energy Support Payments to be automatically made during April to those in receipt of Income Support, Employed Person’s Allowance and Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance in week commencing Monday 4 April, and who have been in receipt of income related benefit for at least four weeks. Family Support Payments are expected to follow in May.
Treasury Minister David Ashford MBE MHK said:
‘The Treasury is well aware of the significant impact that this unavoidable rise in energy costs is going to have on many in our community, and the level of concern there will be among those on the lowest incomes.
‘As I have said before, we cannot help everyone - but the Council of Ministers is committed to providing support to those in a vulnerable financial position, as well as to recognise the disproportionate impact these rises in energy costs will have on families with children.
‘These are likely to be one-off payments, and are intended to cover a six-month period. I therefore encourage households to budget accordingly, to ensure they use the support to spread the cost of their bills over the next six months, rather than using it all in one go’.
Minister Ashford added:
‘As Child Benefit is already income-tested, using this as a structure to target support allows us to ensure those on the lowest incomes get the maximum support, at the same time as supporting families in receipt of Child Benefit.’
Chief Minister Alfred Cannan MHK said:
‘I am acutely aware of the current cost of living crisis being felt directly here on the Island and across the globe. The financial impact on our people, businesses and families is the most sizeable one we have faced for a generation.
‘The Council of Ministers has been planning a range of responses to the cost challenges facing this Island for a number of weeks. We will be coming forward with further measures designed to ensure that we target support in the most effective way possible.
‘The announcement from the Treasury Minister today is welcome and marks the first step in our response.’
More information will be made available in due course.