UK finance minister Zahawi: more help on way for consumers on energy

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LONDON (Reuters) -British finance minister Nadhim Zahawi said more help was on its way for consumers and businesses struggling with the soaring cost of energy, after the regulator said on Friday bills would rise by 80% on average from October.

Zahawi said he was working on support options for both households, particularly the most vulnerable, as well as businesses, ready for when Boris Johnson's successor as prime minister is announced on Sept. 5.

"We know we need to do more because actually the most vulnerable households have no cushion," Zahawi told reporters. "More help is on its way ... I am doing the work to make sure that will be in place throughout next year."

Zahawi said Russian President Vladimir Putin was using energy as a weapon and would continue to do so, so Britain needed to remain resilient for the long term and make sure any help was not just a sticking plaster.

Asked if people should reduce their energy use, Zahawi said: "The reality is that we should all look at our energy consumption, it is a difficult time."

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Kate Holton)