March 2022; News from our local MP Jack Lopresti
Three-part plan will help heat homes
constituents have contacted me regarding the much-reported rise in energy bills expected from April this year, and it’s clear that the rising cost of living is a serious concern for many households across our area.
I have seen many unsubstantiated claims by commentators and across social media that attempt to pin the blame for these rises on inaction by Government, as well as the Government’s active commitment to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The truth, however, is that a record increase in global gas prices has led to wholesale energy prices reaching record levels across Europe.
In short, many smaller suppliers committed to selling gas to their customers at a lower cost than it is now costing them to buy. Despite many suppliers having purchased energy in advance to shield themselves from any cost increases, multiple suppliers were faced with no option but to liquidate their businesses, resulting in many consumers being transferred on to variable and more expensive rates with new suppliers.
This will cause an unwelcome increase in household energy bills and the cost of living at a time when the need to heat homes and workplaces is peaking over the colder months.
For the last two very difficult years, the government has led the country through the pandemic, whilst committing unprecedented financial support to protect employees, jobs and businesses.
In addition to these financial support measures and in response to the global energy price rise, the Government has committed a further £9.1 billion to further support consumers via the Energy Bills Rebate; a three-part plan - recently announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
The three-part plan includes a package of £350 of support per household ; consisting of a non-repayable council tax discount of £150 to 80% of households in April, a £200 repayable discount for domestic electricity customers in October and a discretionary fund of £144m to enable local authorities to help lower-income households who are not eligible for the council tax rebate. The £200 energy price discount will be automatically recovered from people’s bills in equal £40 instalments over five years, beginning in 2023.
Prior to the Government’s Energy Bills Rebate announcement, I met with the Minister for Industry, Lee Rowley, to raise my constituents’ concerns over the energy price increases and I am pleased that this Government subsequently responded with this three-part plan to ensure that all households will be properly heated this winter.
With the crisis on the Ukraine-Russia border causing concerns about Russian supplies to Europe, the Minister of State at the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, Greg Hands, announced we should continue drilling for gas in the North Sea for “reasons of energy security” and said our domestic production gives this country a distinct advantage over our European neighbours who rely on Russia for a substantial proportion of their gas provision.
Greg Hands has also vowed that the energy price cap is “here to stay”, despite calls from some gas suppliers to scrap the policy.
If you have concerns about your ability to properly heat your home this winter or you would like to contact me about any other matter, please contact me via my constituency office: email email@example.com or call 01454 617783.