Chancellor Rishi Sunak has urged wealthy households to donate their energy bill handout to charity.
Every single UK household will receive at least one £400 grant.
People claiming benefits can receive another £650.
£300 extra will be given to pensioners, with another £150 set aside for each person on non means tested disability benefits.
Quizzed by Sky News this morning over why he would be receiving the grant, Sunak, who was named on the Sunday Times “Rich List” last week responded: “Because, when you are trying to help people on that scale when you need to get help to tens of millions of people, actually you have got a choice, how best can you deliver that and the reality is when you are talking about that number of people there really aren’t many ways to do it and we wanted to make sure that this was as universal as possible.
“We had another alternative of doing that which was a council tax rebate which is where you can try and exclude people right at the top in very large houses.
“But you know what, we tried that, and we tried to do it with a discretionary fund and it has worked reasonably well but there are lots of cases of people who will say ‘hang on, I happen to live in this expensive looking house or in a high council tax band house but I need help too’.
“So actually this being universal means that we avoid all of those problems and really do get help to everyone who needs it and you, like me, I am sure like me, you can also give that money to charity if you don’t need it.”
Sunak was also asked about what impact the £15 million spending package could have on already surging inflation.
“That will be a matter for the Office for Budget Responsibility when they do their formal independent review and analysis of things. Our estimate and my view is that it will have a minimal impact on inflation,” he stressed.
He said the impact would be “much less” than a climb of one per cent inflation”, arguing: “The reason for that is twofold. One is that because what we are doing is very targeted at those most in need and secondly because we are also raising money to help pay for it.
“The combination of those two things is the responsible approach because even though we are supporting the economy we want to make sure that we don’t make the inflation situation worse.”