Soaring energy prices are set to push a quarter of households into fuel poverty this winter.
What’s the Tory plan? A sticking plaster that would give more cash to energy giants and see the cost piled on struggling households for years. Like the constituent who told me today they can already barely afford the essentials.
Labour would keep energy bills down now with a one-off windfall tax on oil & gas profits and targeted support for those in most need. If Shell can hand $8.5 billion to shareholders, they can pay to support those in most need.
We’d keep bills down in the future with proper investment in renewables and insulating Britain’s cold and leaky homes.
In Education Questions in Parliament, I challenged Ministers on the specific impact of soaring energy prices on our schools. One local primary school has told me their energy bill has gone up by £30,000 and they’ve received no extra funding to cover this cost.
Watch my question here:
I’ve submitted these Written Parliamentary Questions:
- To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, will he announce separate additional funding for households with pre-pay meters in response to Ofgem’s energy price cap increase. Response here – https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2022-02-03/117859
- To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will hold discussions with energy companies operating prepayment meters on the potential merits of increasing the (a) temporary credit and (b) extra temporary credit available to households with those meters. Response here – https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2022-02-03/117860
- To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, will he ask energy companies to remove the fee that is charged to consumers if they want to switch from a pre-pay meter to a standard meter. Response here – https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2022-02-03/117861
- To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, will he announce funding to help households who have outstanding energy and electric debt. Response here – https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2022-02-03/117863
- To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, will he make it his policy to provide urgent insulation to low-income households in order to help with increased gas and electric bills, following Ofgem’s energy cap increase. Response here – https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2022-02-03/117864
- To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, will he provide separate additional funding to (a) households with children under the age of 18, (b) households with expectant mothers and (a) pensioners to help with the increase in gas and electric costs, following Ofgem’s energy cap increase. Response here – https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2022-02-03/117865
- To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will ask energy companies to equalise tariffs on a standard meter with those on pre-payment meters. Response here – https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2022-02-03/117862
- To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of changing the repayable loan of £200 to assist households with increased energy prices into a non-repayable grant in the event that energy and gas prices continue to rise in 2023-24. Response here – https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2022-02-04/118593
- To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he will take to ensure that the £150 one-off council tax rebate will be given directly to renters and not to their landlords, in cases where the tenant pays their council tax through their landlord and not directly. Response here – https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2022-02-04/118594
- To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many and what proportion of renters pay their council tax directly, rather than through their landlord. Response here – https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2022-02-04/118595
- To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many and what proportion of renters pay their gas and electric bills directly, rather than through their landlord. Response here – https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2022-02-04/118596
- To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of how much a single household of one person will receive from the Energy Bill Discount Scheme in in 2022-23; and if that household subsequently added another person from financial year 2023-24 onward, how much they would be paying in that year and each subsequent year via the increase in standing charge. Response here – https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2022-02-08/120857
- To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether a person under the age of 18 who received the Energy Bill Discount Scheme in 2022-23 as part of their family household would be eligible to pay back that loan in the event that that person moved into their own individual household from financial year 2023-24 onward. Response here – https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2022-02-08/120856
- To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of how much a single household of two people will receive from the Energy Bill Discount Scheme in 2022-23; and if that household subsequently split into two households of one person each from financial year 2023-24, how much they would each pay in (a) 2023-24 and (b) each subsequent year via the standing charge. Response here – https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2022-02-08/120855
- To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will provide additional financial support to low income households to help with the rise of water bills from April 2022. Response here – https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2022-02-04/118598
The Chancellor has announced a one-off £150 council tax rebate and a £200 LOAN for households. In particular, some constituents are alarmed that they will be forced to repay the £200 loan, even if energy prices continue to rise in the next 3-5 years. Others have told me the £150 council tax rebate is a drop in the ocean, compared to rising household bills and the planned increase in taxes. Recently, one constituent told me: “Even before the surge in energy prices many people like me have been struggling to afford the essentials.”
Labour has continuously urged the government not to make abrasive cuts, such as the £20 cut to Universal Credit, and instead to increase wages and other financial support for people during this difficult period. With inflation set to reach an historic 7% in April 20222, competent government intervention is needed more than ever. Last year, I wrote to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to urge her to tackle the rising cost of living and to provide urgent grants to vulnerable and elderly people. I was very disappointed with the Minister’s response; it is obvious that the government does not have a plan in place.
We believe the government should be doing more to bring down the cost of gas and electric bills, increasing rents and weekly food shops. Oil and gas producers are expected to report “near record” income in 2021/22, and this month, Shell announced their annual profits have quadrupled. Yet this Government has described them as “struggling” and has refused to introduce a Windfall Tax on North Sea Oil and Gas. Profits from North Sea Oil and Gas are currently taxed at 30% Corporation Tax plus a 10% corporation tax supplementary charge. Labour has called on the government to increase the rate of tax from 40% to 50%. This would raise at least £1.2bn. Instead, the government is planning on taxing working people and businesses.
As per this Tory government, Boris Johnson would prefer to dig his heels in than act like a leader – he lives in a complete bubble and does not understand the harsh financial decisions families are making between buying enough food or keeping the house warm.
Please do get in touch with my office if you are experiencing difficulty with paying your bills or if you want to share your views on how the government is tackling the cost of living crisis.