Last week, it was revealed that the energy price cap (the mechanism that limits the rates an energy supplier can charge for their default tariffs) is set to double in January, reaching an eye watering £3,850 per year.
Based on typical consumption levels, average households are expected to see bills of more than £250 for energy in October, more than £350 in November and more than £425 in December. The expected price rise in January would put more than half of British households in fuel poverty.
These statistics seem difficult to comprehend, and to be honest I’ve had to triple check them as I write this now. The thought of working families having to bear the brunt of these price rises, alongside exorbitant food and petrol prices, is beyond disgraceful.
This is incredibly serious, and now more than ever we need political leadership. However, when we turn on the news, we don’t see a strong and stable Prime Minister. We instead see two Tory leadership candidates tearing strips out of each other in bad tempered debates, all while a lame duck Prime Minister sits and stews from his office in Number 10.
Tameside has reacted to the cost-of-living crisis in a truly remarkable way, and I know that local people will rally to support each other as energy prices continue to rise. There are a number of incredible foodbanks, as well as great initiatives like ‘That Bread and Butter Thing’ – which aims to provide nutritious food to families at an affordable price.
This week, Tameside Council have also launched their ‘Helping Hand’ initiative, which aims to assist residents who are struggling with the cost of living and link them with services to help with things like finance, debt, housing, food and employment. This is a great tool, and can be accessed online at www.tameside.gov.uk/helpinghand.
Whilst I am incredibly proud of the local effort being taken to tackle the crisis, the fact is we need more support from Government. That means stepping up and supporting working people, cutting VAT on home energy bills, backing good well-paid jobs, and reducing energy bills through improved insulation and green investment. It’s more important than ever that we build a stronger, fairer and more resilient economy.
Twelve years of Conservative Government has left working people struggling like never before. We simply cannot afford more of the same.