LONDON - Britain's government said on Thursday that it has paid almost 40 billion pounds ($50 billion) in energy subsidies since it began to help households and businesses cope with the surge in power bills after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Between the launch of the schemes in October and March, nearly 21 billion pounds was spent on the Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) programme that supports households with their bills, the government said.

A further 12 billion pounds was paid under the Energy Bills Support Scheme, which offered homes payments of 400 pounds towards their bills over the winter months.

Businesses and other organisations received about 5.5 billion pounds under the Energy Bill Relief Scheme and almost 1 billion pounds was spent on other programmes, the business ministry said.

The cost of the subsidies has helped to swell Britain's public borrowing since they were launched last October.

The Office for National Statistics has put the cost at 41.2 billion pounds in the financial year ending in March.

The EPG subsidies for households are due to end in July as regulated prices fall below the level of the cap. Support for businesses is scheduled to run until March 2024.

The energy ministry said the some of the funding for the energy subsidies would come from a so-called windfall tax on energy producers which was expected to raise almost 26 billion pounds by March 2028.

($1 = 0.8026 pounds)

(Writing by William Schomberg, editing by Andy Bruce)