Rishi Sunak to unveil hundreds of pounds of payments to all benefit recipients in 'big giveaway'

The chancellor is set to announce a package of support on Thursday. Credit: PA

Rishi Sunak is planning to unveil a massive financial package to try to tackle the cost-of-living crisis with big individual payments for everyone on means-tested benefits like universal credit, sources have told me.

The payments could be over £600 and paid in two instalments - one in July and another in the autumn.

There could also be hundreds of extra pounds to support every pensioner after energy bills soar in October - distributed through winter fuel payments, and additional top ups for anyone on particular disability benefits.

One source said to expect a "big giveaway" and a "very large-scale response" that will particularly target anyone who qualifies for benefits, including those in work. Another said the payments would be "substantial".

I've heard that the payments for those on disability benefits could be hundreds of pounds meaning people who qualify for both UC and disability benefits could be in line for a particularly large payment.

The winter fuel allowance could rise by over £300 - if sources I speak to are right - helping all pensioners.

The changes would require emergency legislation that would be rushed through parliament.

While the package will largely be targeted to the poorest, there will also be a universal element probably by cancelling the previous plan to make £200 off energy bills this year - a loan that needs to be paid back over four years - with reports that Mr Sunak could actually double the rebate to £400.

That would cost a huge amount - and make the whole plan combined more expensive than the £10 billion suggested so far.

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It will be paid for in part with a windfall tax - that one senior government source claimed would be much bigger than the one suggested by Labour - which Keir Starmer's party has said could raise £2 billion.

If my sources are right (and I've spoken to several people across government) this will be an extremely expensive giveaway that will target the poorest eight to nine million but also try to support everyone.

Sunak has repeatedly said he wants to target support, and is less keen on expanding the warm homes discount that is limited to around three million.