LBC caller says he will 'go hungry' this winter as energy bills go up
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Britain’s fossil fuel energy crisis nightmare has now gone from bad to worse as Ofgem announced the new price cap for households to £3,549 from October. This announcement came despite the Government facing growing pressure from groups across the spectrum, calling for the UK to freeze the price cap at its previous level at £1,971 per year. These groups include Labour, major energy companies like Octopus Energy, British Gas, and Scottish Power, and campaign groups, all of whom demand that a plan to help the millions of households who now face fuel poverty as a result of this price increase.
However, both Tory leadership contenders, front runner Liz Truss and former Chancellor Rishi Sunak have rejected such plans, describing it as an expensive, short term fix.
This unwillingness to freeze bills could prove costly, experts have warned, as the Tories being demolished in future elections by Labour, who have promised such ambitious relief plans.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mike Foster, who is the CEO of industry body Energy and Utilities Alliance said: “Whoever does win in September, is going to have to at least match the scale of support suggested by the policy from the opposition and from industry, that have called for keeping the price cap as it is and in effect having the Government pay the difference.
“So the consumers and businesses aren’t priced out of using energy this winter.
“The reasons are purely political because I think if they don’t match the proposals, then what I assume will be a tidal wave of protest that will sweep them from power in the next election.
“People will not forget, who said what during this time of dealing with an energy price crisis and so if have you one argument that the government should keep the prices where they are.”
While the previous price cap already seemed very low in comparison, Mr Foster noted that £1,971 per year was already a historic high, jeopardizing the lifestyles of millions of Britons.
He warned that without such support from the Government, “throughout the winter, individual consumers and homeowners will have to choose between putting food on the table and keeping warm.
“They won’t forget that misery, making those unenviable decisions and as a consequence, that’s why I think politically the Government will have to make that decision.”
The record high energy bills are expected to continue to soar higher over the next few months, as Ofgem previously announced that they would review their price cap every three months now instead of six.
He noted that a plan to freeze the energy bills at the current price cap would “give the people reassurance at a time of crisis.
“If they don’t then electorally, they’ll be finished. It’s as simple as that.”
As the energy bills officially rise, Don’t Pay UK, a campaign group, is gathering momentum with many supporting the idea of stopping payments for energy bills to force the Government to do more.
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According to their website, more than114,000 people have pledged to strike.
Mr Foster warned that such campaigns could be devastating for the Government.
Comparing this to the Poll Tax riots that brought down Margaret Thatcher’s administration, he said: “The last time we saw deliberate non-payment at the scale that there could be this time is the Poll Tax and that ended up with riots in the streets.
“Nobody wants to see that, and that’s why the government has got to act decisively and on a scale that takes it off the political agenda.
“They can do it, the incoming prime minister has all the power and levers to do it, it’s whether he or she chooses to do it or not. That’s what people will remember.”
A Government Spokesperson responded to the price cap update saying: “Direct support will continue to reach people’s pockets in the weeks and months ahead, targeted at those who need it most like low-incomes households, pensioners and those with disabilities.
“As part of our £37billion package of help for households, one in four of all UK households will see £1,200 extra support, provided in instalments across the year, and everyone will receive a £400 discount on their energy bills over winter.
“The civil service is also making the appropriate preparations in order to ensure that any additional support or commitments on cost of living can be delivered as quickly as possible when the new Prime Minister is in place.”
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