Category Archives: Cost of living

Zahawi asks nurses to take pay cut as ‘message to Putin’

Nadhim Zahawi: He claimed public money to heat his stables but he thinks nurses will accept another huge pay cut if he tells them it will help defeat Russian Premier Vladimir Putin.

Minister Without Portfolio Nadhim Zahawi has asked nurses to accept a real-terms pay cut “to send a message to Putin” that the UK will not accept his attempt to dictate to us using energy prices.

What?

Well, see for yourself:

Firstly, this is a non-sequitur. Nurses’ pay has nothing to do with energy prices or what has happened to them because of the war in Ukraine. What message would Putin really take from the UK government denying its underpaid nurses a decent pay rise?

Secondly, let us remember that this is the Tory MP who claimed a large amount of money – on expenses, so it came from the public purse – in order to keep his horses warm during the winter by heating his stables.

He has no right at all to preach to people who are having to go to food banks, simply to be able to eat.

What is he having to go without, to aid the resistance against Putin?

Nothing. And that is precisely what’s wrong with this massive hypocrite.

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Praise for Tory MP who put the DUP in its place over lack of energy price cap in NI

How surprising, actually to be able to praise a Conservative member of Parliament for pointing out the facts of life to other politicians who have harmed the people!

Energy is a devolved responsibility in Northern Ireland, and the reason people there don’t have the safety of a cap on the price of energy per unit is because the devolved assembly in Stormont has not been able to meet since the cost of energy started skyrocketing.

The reason it hasn’t met is that the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is blocking the formation of an executive led by Sinn Fein.

So when DUP MP Carla Lockhart complained that people in England, Scotland and Wales had received £400 to help pay bills but nobody in NI did, Tory energy minister Graham Stuart put her right in her place.

Here’s what happened:

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Council tax may rise by £2,000 – but how can people pay?

Potential council tax rises could constitute the straw that breaks the camel’s back for UK residents struggling with the cost of living.

Here’s the team on Good Morning Britain, discussing whether people will end up living in prison – rather than their homes – serving sentences for non-payment:

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Kate Winslet coughs up £17k to pay energy bill for girl on life support

Donation: Kate Winslet.

Here’s a story to show there are still people of good conscience in the world:

When Holywood actress Kate Winslet learned that Clackmannanshire mother Carolynne Hunter was facing extortionate costs to keep her daughter on life support, she stepped in with a £17,000 donation.

Ms Hunter’s daughter Freya has severe complex health problems and disabilities, is non-verbal and blind and requires full-time oxygen and at-home nursing care.

There was no way to reduce the energy required to sustain her. She was facing an annual energy bill of £10,000, but Clackmannanshire Council said it could hit £17,000 in 2023.

Then Ms Winslet donated £17,000 to the GoFundMe page Ms Hunter had set up asking for help and got in touch to wish the family well.

The astonished mother told her story to Good Morning Britain:

It’s a terrific, heartwarming story of generosity from an unexpected and welcome source.

The flipside, sadly, is that there are undoubtedly many more people in Ms Hunter’s situation who won’t get windfalls like this. And we can’t expect Ms Winslet or even other people in similar financial comfort to pay for them all.

It is an element to the energy price crisis that has not been highlighted before.

Should there not be extra help available for people whose energy need is life-threatening?

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DWP warns households they may not get cost of living payment next week

For once, this is not about the Department for Work and Pensions deliberately making our lives harder.

It seems to be a simple warning that it’s impossible to get the second instalment of the cost of living payment out to all households at the same time.

And, in fairness, while the payment starts to be dished out on Tuesday (November 8), the deadline isn’t until November 23 (November 30 for people on tax credits and legacy benefits).

Here’s the story from My London:

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has issued an urgent warning to households who are expecting the second instalment of the cost of living payment next week. The government department has said that not everyone should expect the payment to arrive on Tuesday, November 8.

Around eight million families are set to receive the payment, which aims to support qualifying low-income households with the rise in the cost of living. The £324 payment is the second lump sum of a £650 payment.

The first payments of £326 were made from July 14 onwards. For the second instalment, the DWP has warned that “a small number” of households will receive payments on November 8, with “numbers increasing significantly” from November 9 onwards, reports Liverpool Echo. The deadline for most payments to be made is November 23.

It is thought that families in receipt of Tax Credits and other eligible legacy benefits will get their money from November 23-30.

Source: DWP’s urgent warning to households expecting cost of living payment next week

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Wholesale gas prices have dropped. Will our energy bills start to fall? 

A while ago, This Site reported that wholesale gas prices had fallen by 45 per cent. Now they’re down to parity with where they were 18 months ago – before the various crises that pushed them up.

So, are we going to see matching reductions in our energy bills?

The jaded among you will not be surprised to learn that the answer, according to This Is Money, is no.

See what you make of the reasons:

Prices have started to fall back in recent weeks as a milder-than-expected autumn has reduced demand, and a flurry of cargoes arriving at ports across Europe has eased supply concerns.

Nathan Piper, head of oil and gas research at Investec said: “This is likely to be a temporary respite ahead of colder winter weather and associated increase in gas demand for heating.

“Although the spot price has declined to the ten year average, the forward curve continues to indicate high prices throughout the next two years leading to significant parts of European industry shutting down.”

That’s one reason. Here’s another:

Energy companies ‘hedge’ by buying gas and electricity well ahead of when it is needed. Suppliers will buy a certain amount of energy in advance to lock in the price and to reduce the risk of adverse price movements.

It means that our monthly bills don’t reflect today’s prices, but rather the wholesale cost from when the supplier first paid for the energy.

Currently our household energy bills are being kept artificially low by the energy price guarantee, and don’t represent the actual wholesale price being paid for by suppliers.

Had the £2,500 guarantee cap for the average household not been put in place, Ofgem would have increased its price cap [for an “average” household] to £3,549 per year in October 2022.

Should wholesale gas prices continue to fall, the Government is likely to be the beneficiary given [it is] footing the bill.

A prolonged and seemingly permanent drop could eventually lead to new fixed rate deals being offered below the price cap, but firms are likely to be very cautious on doing this.

So your only chance of getting lower fuel bills is if the climate change, that so many Tory MPs want to deny, continues to affect us until April.

In that event, it seems to me that we’ll have to accept we’ve gone past the point of no return as far as that calamity is concerned, and this one – energy prices – won’t be particularly relevant any more.

Or is that too pessimistic?

Source: Wholesale gas prices have dropped from their summer peak: Will our energy bills start to fall before the price guarantee ends in April?

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Do you pay for energy using a pre-payment meter? Have you claimed energy benefits?

Apparently £25 million worth of energy benefits have not been claimed by people on pre-payment meters – even if they are struggling.

If you are one of these people, here’s some advice. Please watch:

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How is the cost of living crisis affecting people near you? Now you can find out

Food: have you cut back on your supply because of the cost of living crisis?

I was having a look around the TUC (Trades Union Congress) website while I was putting together the article on key workers leaving public services due to low pay – and found this.

It’s a snapshot summary of how the cost of living crisis is affecting people – by UK constituency.

I live in Brecon and Radnorshire, where:

  • One in eight people have missed meals or gone without food.
  • Two in five people have cut back on food spending.
  • And a whopping half of the population have cut back on the amount of hot water, heating or electricity we use.

I can confirm that I myself have done one of the above; both I and Mrs Mike have taken advantage of the unseasonally warm (climate change?) autumn to leave the central heating off altogether – so far.

But never mind me; how about you?

Check the situation where you live by visiting the link directly below.

Source: HOW IS THE COST OF LIVING AFFECTING PEOPLE IN YOUR LOCAL AREA?

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Now IAIN DUNCAN SMITH is challenging Liz Truss – over BENEFIT CUTS

The Tory who inflicted the most harmful benefit cuts ever to blight the UK has raised his voice to challenge new prime minister Liz Truss – saying her plan to cut benefits in real terms is too harsh.

Wait, what?

Iain Duncan Smith, whose cuts to sickness benefits led to at least 2,400 unexplained deaths between 2011 and 2014, now says benefit cuts are bad?

Well, yes:

It may not be hypocrisy.

He resigned in 2016 over plans to cut disability benefits, saying they were too harsh as well.

And the argument he is using now – that cutting money available to benefit claimants is likely to harm them – is entirely correct. How do I know?

Because I wrote it.

I, along with many other campaigners of the time, made it clear when newspaper stories about people dying for that reason were proliferating.

Suppose a claimant is diabetic. If they can’t afford to power their refrigerator, then they can’t keep their insulin at the right temperature. What happens if they then go into diabetic shock?

Just ask the family of David Clapson.

But This Writer doesn’t recall any remorse from Iain Duncan Smith over the deaths his policies caused while he was Work and Pensions Secretary.

Perhaps a more likely explanation for this is that the policy is likely to be hugely unpopular during a cost-of-living crisis caused by the Tory government.

The thought of people on benefits receiving a help package that is reduced if Truss refuses to authorise an inflation-linked uplift in benefits may be deeply unpopular with voters, so perhaps Iain Duncan Smith is simply trying to cling on to his Parliamentary seat.

His other words are absolutely correct, though: if a government wants to build economic growth, it needs to give money to the poorest in society because they are the ones who will spend it – not the richest.

He is the latest in a lengthening line of senior Tory MPs to challenge the prime minister’s authority.

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Party chairman lays out the DISGUSTING Tory line on too-high energy bills

Jake Berry: he looks like a far-right skinhead, and he acts like a far-right skinhead. Do you think it’s because he IS a far-right skinhead?

Jake Berry is the chairman of the Conservative Party. He can be expected to provide the party line on all the major issues.

So when he spoke out to address the concerns of ordinary people about energy bills that, even with Liz Truss’s price cap, are still too high, you can be sure it is what the Tories think.

Here’s what he said:

Let’s unpack that.

Firstly: the Conservative Party does not care if your bill is too much for you to pay.

Secondly: the Conservative Party is happy to let you freeze in your home, rather than take action to prevent that from happening.

Finally: the Conservative Party is happy to fob you off by saying you should try to take a non-existent “higher-paying job” if you want to heat your home properly.

Many of us have an opinion about that…:

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