LIBERAL Democrats in Stratford are calling on the government to spare families from soaring energy bills by cancelling October’s price cap increase.
The political party has added its voice to a call which is gaining momentum nationally as both former prime minister Gordon Brown and current Labour leader Keir Starmer have called on the Conservative government to stop “stalling in the face of a national emergency” and prevent millions of families falling into destitution this winter.
Tory MPs Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak – both in the running to become next prime minister – have been accused of doing little to ease the coming financial pain, which will only add to the cost-of-living crisis.
Locally, the Lib Dems estimate the move to cancel the price cap increase would save a typical household in Stratford district an extra £2,209.84 a year.
The bold plan would see the 70 per cent increase in the energy price cap expected to be announced by Ofgem later this month cancelled, with the government instead paying the shortfall to energy suppliers so that they can afford to supply customers at the current rates.
This would mean a total estimated saving for households in the local district of £115,812,549 off their electricity and gas bills.
The Lib Dems say the estimated £36billion cost should be met by expanding the windfall tax on oil and gas company profits, and using the government’s higher-than-expected VAT revenues as a result of soaring inflation.
The party is also calling for more targeted support for vulnerable and low income households. This would include doubling the Warm Homes Discount to £300 and extending it to all those on Universal Credit and Pension Credit, while investing in insulating fuel poor homes to bring prices down in the long term.
Stratford Lib Dem spokesperson Manuela Perteghella told the Observer: “Hard-working families in Stratford district are already struggling to make ends meet, and are deeply concerned about how they will cope with the predicted rise in energy bills. This Conservative government is stalling in the face of a national emergency and, yet again, is simply not doing enough to put money back in the pockets of hard-working people.
“Countless families and pensioners across our area are already struggling, and they cannot wait for a new Conservative leader to act.
“This is an emergency, and the government must step in now to help families and pensioners in Stratford by cancelling the planned rise in energy bills this October.”
The energy price cap is currently £1,971 a year for a typical household. It went up by £693 – 54 per cent – in April. The new cap is expected to be around £3,400 – an increase of around £1,400 or 70 per cent. Cancelling the rise would mean the energy bill for a typical household stays at £1,971 a year, instead of rising to around £3,400 in October.