The UK government is reportedly plotting to put a surcharge on utility bills to help pay for reductions for the country's poorest consumers, a newspaper report has said.

The Mail on Sunday newspaper reports that the plan could be one part of the government’s strategy to combat fuel poverty. The poor are inevitably among the hardest hit by rising energy prices, and the recent surging cost of fuel has heightened concerns that elderly or unemployed consumers may be among those unable to afford the cost of energy next winter.

However the plan hatched by the government would see more affluent consumers effectively subsidizing reductions for the poorest via an added surcharge on their bill, the report says. This is likely to provoke strong resentment among those who feel the utilities are making enough in corporate profits to be able to afford to subsidize vulnerable customers themselves.