On the 26th of August, the new energy price cap will be announced by the energy regulator Ofgem. It is estimated that this means annual average bills could rise to more than £3,500. The price cap is currently sitting at £1,971 year for typical usage, which means that the anticipated announcement represents an 82% increase in energy bills.
It almost goes without saying that this rise will plunge millions of people into fuel poverty. It is both unrealistic and morally wrong to expect working people to pay bills of this magnitude. That is why a Labour Government would immediately freeze the price cap, step up to support businesses and energy intensive industries, and guarantee working people a genuine living wage that covers the cost of living.
These measures are bold, but they have to be. We’re facing the biggest cost of living crisis in a generation, and unless the Government acts, the winter will be disastrous for millions of people across the United Kingdom.
We don’t have time for delay. This Friday energy bills will skyrocket, and we need to pass legislation to stop that. Parliament is currently in its summer recess, but I support Labour’s demand that Parliament is recalled early, so that we can freeze the cap and stop these extraordinary price hikes.
Parliament has been recalled on a number of occasions in times of crisis, so this isn’t a particularly new or novel idea. The problem we face, unfortunately, is that the current Tory Government don’t seem to think the price cap rise is urgent enough to do it. Flick on the news and you don’t see Boris Johnson taking immediate action to protect working families, you instead see Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss fighting like rats in a sack over who will become the next Prime Minister. Whilst this increasingly bad-tempered leadership contest continues, the Government are missing in action.
I really feel this absence when I talk to constituents across Tameside. People are crying out for the Government to do its job. Local people are staring down the barrel of unsustainable price rises, but looking at a Government that is stuck in a fantasy world, detached from the realities on the ground.
We can’t wait any longer for the Tories to get their act together. Let’s recall Parliament, get MPs back in London, and tackle these gas and electricity bills on behalf of the people we were elected to represent.