Regulator Ofgem is raising the energy price cap by £693 this year in response to increasing wholesale gas prices, and the Tory government has acted – to protect the privatised energy firms’ profits.
The average bill will rise from £1,277 to £1,971.
In response, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced that the government will cushion the blow with a £200 rebate on electricity bills next year – but this is a loan; the Tories will expect us to pay it back later.
Sunak has made no comment on how he expects us to repay this money, once we are paying the full amount of these increased bills.
Isn’t it a contradictory move from a governing party that spent years telling us that austerity was needed because we should pay off a huge national debt immediately, rather than making people pay it in the future?
Sunak is also providing a £150 rebate on Council Tax bills for English properties in bands A to D.
But this won’t help people on benefits who receive Council Tax Support.
He’s providing £150 million for local authorities in England to help lower income households, along with £565 million for the devolved administrations in the rest of the UK.
This Writer has seen no information demonstrating how he reached this figure and/or knows that it will be enough.
Of course, working people will have to find the funds to meet a 10 per cent National Insurance increase from April, as well.
People on Universal Credit – which also includes working people, remember – are already struggling to cope with a cut of more than £1,000 per year.
The Bank of England has pushed interest rates up to 0.5 per cent, meaning mortgages and other debts will become more expensive.
Oh, and the threat of Russia invading Ukraine means we could face a further gas price shock if the supply from eastern Europe is disrupted.
There’s also the hidden cost increase that this price rise will create: businesses will face increased energy costs and we know from experience that, rather than absorb that cost and take lower profits, they’ll simply pass it on to customers in higher prices.
And this leads us back to the privatised energy firms themselves, and the elephant in this particular room.
Ever since gas and electricity were privatised, back in the bad old days of Thatcher, we have been paying extra in order to provide dividends to shareholders – many of which are now organisations belonging to foreign governments, allow me to remind you.
The logical choice when faced with a situation this bad would be to nationalise all these firms again.
Not only would it eliminate the requirement to provide dividends to shareholders (sending money out of the UK where it can’t do anybody living here any good) but it would also allow the government to set its own prices, relieving much more of the burden from customers.
A nationalised energy service would not feel the temptation to retain raised prices after wholesale costs come back down, as privatised, shareholder-run firms certainly would, and would be able to pass on that benefit to customers – phased to ensure the current high costs could be paid off.
This is anathema to the Tories and Labour opposes it too – because they are both now neoliberal parties that love privatisation and exist to serve the greed of the very rich.
So you get a cobbled-together, contradictory mishmash from Rishi Sunak that Labour has tried to counter by saying VAT on energy should have been scrapped.
That’s ridiculous because – as the Tories rightly pointed out – it helps the rich, who are easily able to fund the increased bills, as much as the poor; it doesn’t put all the help where it needs to go.
The fact that Labour even tried to suggest this as a serious alternative shows that it is not fit for government under Keir Starmer and his cronies.
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:
Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.
1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.
2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical
3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/
Join the Vox Political Facebook page.
4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com
And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!
If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!
Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.
The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:
Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:
The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here: