The Wales Act 2017 sets a reserved powers model, making clear that social security, pensions and child maintenance remain reserved to UK Parliament. This position is unchanged since devolution began. The UK Government does not intend to devolve reserved social security powers to the Welsh Government. It has, however, used them to make provision for the £650 Cost of Living Payment (paid in 2 lump sums of £326 and £324) for around 8 million low-income households on means-tested benefits; the one-off disability Cost of Living Payment of £150 currently being paid to 6 million eligible people; and the extra one-off £300 Winter Fuel Payment this year to be paid to over 8 million pensioner households across the UK.
The UK Government has taken further decisive action to support people with their energy bills through the new “Energy Price Guarantee”, which will mean a typical UK household will now pay up to an average £2,500 a year on their energy bill for the next two years from 1 October. This will save the average household in Great Britain at least £1,000 a year based on current energy prices from October. This is in addition to the over £37bn of cost of living support announced earlier this year which includes the £400 non-repayable discount to eligible households provided through the Energy Bills Support Scheme and the cost of living payments. It also includes an additional £500 million from October to help households across the UK with the cost of essentials. In England, £421 million is being provided to extend the Household Support Fund, a discretionary scheme run by Upper Tier Local Authorities, from October 2022 – March 2023. The Welsh Government has been allocated its share of this funding through the Barnett Formula.