If you’ve seen or heard the News lately you’ll have heard about the hikes in energy bills coming in April ,when the current energy price cap changes. For the average household this means an average increase in energy bills of around £693.The government has come up with a ‘£350 discount’ for bill-payers which is actually a loan to help – although, naturally with the Tories, not everybody will receive this. Whilst millions in the UK face fuel poverty, in France the government has forced energy companies to cap energy bills, providing some respite for the public.. Meanwhile, in the UK, Boris Johnson has been cozying up to the energy companies and their billionaire tycoon owners who just happen to be generous donors to the Conservative Party. As Johnsons popularity plunges amidst the ‘one rule for them and another for us’ party-gate scandal people are concluding that surely these fat cats could take a dip in profits more easily than the poor can survive fuel poverty.
Bridgwater Labour Economy spokesman Cllr Mick Lerry (Bridgwater Victoria) said: “ Lowest income families will face a £724.00 increase in energy costs, which is a 7.5 larger rise than the richest 10% of the population. The Tory Government since 2008 has no energy strategy to protect working people from this enormous increase in the cost of living, with inflation also running at nearly 6% the future for working people is in sharp decline. The Tories have delayed making decisions on renewable and new nuclear energy and they are led by Boris Johnson, a Prime Minister who knows more about lying and partying than running the country. Yet once again it will be those who obeyed the rules through lockdown, paying for the low growth economy and poor leadership”.
Cllr Lerry continued “The Government refuses to follow the plan put forward by Labour to protect people from these sharp increase in energy prices and instead produces a plan to give families a £200.00 loan to be paid back and £150.00 rebate on Council Tax, which is not paid by everyone and will only mean less funding for the Local Council to spend on adult social care and other important services. There is no guarantee that energy prices will fall in the future and consequently the cost of living increase will level down the income for many working families. What is needed is a Labour Plan that will cut household bills by £600.00. Labour would impose a windfall tax on North Sea oil and gas producers to fund measures to ease the, by reducing the average household energy bill by £200. The producers would be forced to contribute £1.2bn to help fund the proposals, through a year-long increase to their corporation tax of 10 percentage points. The £6.6bn plan would include removing VAT on domestic energy bills for a whole year, as well as expanding and increasing the warm homes discount for those most at risk.”
Heating or Eating
Irena Hubble Brezowski, Chair of Bridgwater Branch Labour party said “In the 21st century in one of the most developed countries in the world no family should be making the choice between heating or food. Yet 1 in 4 families will plunge into fuel poverty with the price hike for energy bills that is coming. This government has zero ideas on how to manage the energy crisis and zero ideas on how to tackle our environmental problems . Enough is enough . A progressive Labour government would raise money by charging a windfall tax on North Sea oil and gas profits and give low income families £600.”
Taking Back Control of our Energy
Sedgemoor Labour Leader, Cllr Brian Smedley (Bridgwater Westover) , said “Shell have declared 20 billion dollars profit. At the same time people are facing an average bill rise of up to £700. Tory Chancellor Sunak is offering £350 Government help. Those Maths don’t add up. And of course they never will while we have unbridled capitalism driving a Tory party in Government. Labour is proposing a windfall tax on the energy giants-and that’s welcome -but the solution at the end of the day is public ownership of basic human needs such as energy. You just have to look over the channel to France where their government has intervened in EDF price hikes because they own the company. Odd though that we have them on our own doorstep and our Government is subsidizing them…maybe they haven’t thought that through? Surely can’t be the case…..can it?”
Bridgwater Labour councillor Tony Heywood (Eastover) said he had been personally hit when his fixed rate contract of just over £200 a month for gas and electricity came to an end in January. “My supplier offered me a new fixed rate contract at £875 a month! I shopped around and managed to find a variable rate deal from another supplier, but that also involved me switching my mobile and broadband services to the new supplier. The current situation is awful. Let’s face it, the Tories will never act in the interests of ordinary working people. What we all really need is a Labour government, committed to public ownership of energy supply.”
Here are some useful links
Money saving expert here
MSE calculator here