Tag Archives: rise

Kwarteng’s mini-budget will still happen – probably at end of next week

Kwasi Kwarteng: he reckons he’s going to find a way to pay for Liz Truss’s energy price cap. But then, it’s not all that long since he said “fracking is over” – and look what has happened there.

A “fiscal event” to explain how the Liz Truss Tory governent will pay for its cap on energy bills will probably take place at the end of next week, it has been claimed.

We’re looking at September 23, it seems.

Also possible is an announcement of tax cuts to boost the economy and help (rich) people with rising living costs (that won’t affect them as much as the poor who won’t have help because they don’t pay tax).

During her campaign for the Tory leadership, Truss promised to undo the rise in National Insurance that was announced under Boris Johnson.

Apparently Kwarteng has announced a change in direction for the Treasury – that the department needed to focus on growing the economy by 2.5 per cent per year.

This follows the controversial sacking of top Treasury official Sir Tom Scholar.

Let’s have a look at that…

The implication is that the sacking was politically-motivated and Truss (along with Kwarteng and the rest) is replacing the UK’s formerly impartial civil service with one that is politically partisan.

This will lead to poor, ideologically-motivated decisions being pushed through by officials who should be advising politicians on the strengths or weaknesses of such moves.

It will destabilise the UK even further, at a time when we need a steady hand in charge.

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The rich will get twice as much support as the poor on their energy bills – because of Truss

Money: Liz Truss wants government help with energy bills to benefit rich people – who don’t need it – more than the hard-working poor who do.

Liz Truss is proving to be “Continuity Johnson” in her first major challenge as prime minister – by helping the rich with their energy bills far more than the poor.

Remember when Boris Johnson’s government promised to give £400 to every household, to help with their energy bills – and we found this meant rich people who owned more than one house would receive the payment multiple times, despite only living in one dwelling at a time?

Now, according to the Resolution Foundation, Liz Truss is offering more than twice as much support to the rich as to the poor, to deal with the same crisis.

Here‘s the BBC with the details:

The Resolution Foundation said if the government cuts National Insurance and limits energy bill rises, richer homes will get £4,700 in 2023, compared to £2,200 for the poorest.

Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) recently described the support package as “very poorly targeted”.

“Finding a way of targeting [support] to the many, many millions who really need it, without giving it to the many, many millions who don’t, appears to be something that has stumped the Treasury and the government.”

Consumer affairs correspondent Colletta Smith added this analysis:

Although most households had been facing the same huge price increase in October, those price rises do not affect everyone in the same way. Those with less money spend proportionately more of their income on energy, and are likely to have smaller properties to heat, which means they won’t save as much with this guarantee, and will still struggle to pay bills at the current rate.

There will be what the government is calling a “fiscal event” this month, and the pressure is mounting on the government to provide more detail and more targeted help for the poorest households. Although this was the first announcement of Liz Truss’s premiership, the scale and the repercussions mean that it is likely to be the economically defining one.

If this is indeed the defining moment of Liz Truss’s premiership, it seems likely to define her as funnelling money to the undeserving rich when it should have gone to the hard-working poor who need it.

A general election is only two years away, and her decision on energy now is likely to affect us during both winters leading up to it; we aren’t going to forget this.

By concentrating her support on the rich, Truss may have doomed her entire political movement.

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Martin Lewis gives the lowdown on the energy price rises coming in October

This video is four days old but still well worth watching as, in it, Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis lays out how Liz Truss’s new energy price cap will affect households.

First point to make is that the £400 payment to each household is remaining in place, meaning that the cap of £2,500 is in reality one of £2,100 – if you use the amount of energy expected of you (typical usage).

There’s no word on the £400 payment being given next year, meaning households may pay the full tariff next year.

Second is that the cap applies to standing charges and unit costs, meaning if you use fewer units, you will pay less – and if you use more, you will pay more.

People on fixed tariffs can switch to subsidised tariffs with no early exit penalties, if switching to those operated by your current supplier.

Here’s the clip:

What’s his verdict?

Contrasting the current price cap with what it was last winter – £1,277 – that’s significantly more. Nearly twice as much, in fact.

But Mr Lewis says it’s still better than what it was going to be.

This has caused some controversy among sections of the population.

People are saying – rightly, in my opinion – that the government has spent the whole summer scaring us with the possibility of paying nearly £4,000 per year from October 1 – and now, with this new price cap, we are expected to be grateful that the rise we’re facing now is smaller.

But it is still a price rise.

It represents a failure to protect us by a government whose only job is to do just that.

And we don’t know – yet – how Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng expect to subsidise this freeze. They say the energy companies won’t pay anything from their obscene profits, so it seems likely that we – the people – will be forced to pay,

In other words, it seems likely that we have no reason to be grateful at all.

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Brexit is pushing your energy bill up. Here’s how it works [VIDEO]

Here’s another hidden cost of Brexit – kudos to Maximilien Robespierre for dragging this into the light.

The UK is an island so it must rely on interconnectors to import and export energy. When it was part of the EU, it was able to take advantage of the systems that operate these underwater cables – but must now rely on energy traders, adding complexity and therefore cost.

Here’s the clip:

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Eddie Dempsey explains why UK living standards are so low – and rinses Truss’s cabinet

Eddie Dempsey.

The assistant general secretary of the RMT union dropped a salvo of truth bombs in his speech at the Old Fruitmarket in Glasgow last week.

Profits are high because wages are low – and wages are low because the market says so.

And who is “the market”? According to Mr Dempsey, it is people titled “CEO”.

He made the point that, without working people, the bosses taking all the money would have no wealth – but without them, the UK could be a country fit to live in.

And he pointed out that, with shareholders taking hundreds of billions of pounds worth of profit out of the UK, it is not credible to say there is not enough money available to give working people a living wage.

The only reason wages don’t rise is because profits would then come down, and the greedy CEOs who run “the market” would rather feather their nests than safeguard the people who make their money for them.

It’s a hell of a speech:

Mr Dempsey went on to absolutely humiliate Liz Truss and her new market-ruled cabinet in this interview, when he admitted: “I’ve no idea who any of them are”:

Based on this evidence, it is easy to see why unions like the RMT are enjoying a huge surge in popularity.

While Labour stagnates under Keir Starmer, people like Mr Dempsey are standing up for the hard-working people of the UK – and helping us to stand up for ourselves.

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Disabled man says energy costs mean he’ll be dead next year. Tory response: get a job

Bring out your dead: is this the DWP plan for people with disabilities who can’t afford to pay the inflated energy bills the Tory government has foisted on us?

This is utterly disgusting.

Confronted with the story of a man with disabilities who said he expects to be dead by this time next year because he will not be able to afford the increased cost of energy, Tory Minister for Disabled people Chloe Smith said she hoped the Job Centre could help.

It’s the Tory answer to everything: “Get a job. Get a better job. Get an extra job.”

But – if you’re a person living with a disability – you can’t always do that.

And you know what happens then, in Tory Britain?

You die.

Here’s the clip:

Note Chloe Smith’s record on benefit-related votes in the House of Commons: she always voted to cut benefits.

So, for her, the answer to all your problems, if you can’t get a job, is clear:

You die.

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Humanitarian crisis looms over energy price rises

NHS: will astronomical energy price rises create health problems – physical and mental – that could overwhelm the health service in the coming winter?

NHS leaders have warned that the rising cost of energy bills may trigger a humanitarian crisis that their organisation will be left to handle, if the government doesn’t do more to help.

The vertiginous rise in the price of energy may leave millions of people forced to choose between heating their homes and having enough food to eat – and this is likely to have consequences for their health, the NHS Confederation said.

Cold homes are already linked to 10,000 deaths per year; cold conditions can lead to a rise in respiratory conditions, and in older people can also increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes and falls.

This winter, those problems would increase the strain on the NHS, whose bosses are already expecting to have to cope with flu, norovirus and Covid outbreaks.

And there would also be a major impact on mental health and well-being.

The government has protested that it is taking action over energy prices and that it is supporting the NHS.

But the payments of £400 to households in England, Scotland and Wales, rising to £1,200 for the poorest, were announced before it was predicted that energy costs may rise to around £4,200 per year.

The government also said it was working with the NHS to make sure it can accommodate winter pressures, including increasing the number of hospital beds available and recruiting staff from foreign countries.

No further action is to be taken until the new prime minister – either Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss – is sworn in next month.

Considering the warning from the NHS Confederation, is the current offer too little? And will any extra help arrive too late?

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Labour’s solution to energy prices – is it sensible and will it work?

Keir Starmer: what does he have for us? Armfuls of nothing.

The answer to the question in the headline is: probably not, although it does contain some reasonable points.

This Site mentioned the big hole in Labour’s proposals to beat the energy price increases previously – taxing the oil and gas giants on their profits won’t help if the money is used to stop them from making any profits (by ensuring that customers don’t pay more).

Bear in mind that costs are expected to rise hugely over the next few months; if people were only asked to pay the same as now, and the companies were taxed on their current profits to make up the difference, a deficit would have to appear somewhere.

And it seems Labour is basing its figures on the amount of profit made by these firms internationally – meaning that taxing them on the full amount to raise money in the UK would break international tax law.

According to the BBC,

The party also said it would raise £14bn from other measures such as dropping the £400 energy rebate, and abandoning pledges made by the the Conservative leadership contenders – such as halting the “green levy” on fuel bills, which Ms Truss is proposing, or scrapping VAT on domestic fuel bills which Mr Sunak has promised.

How does that help bill-payers when it is denying them the benefit of a £400 payment, or the benefits of suspending the green levy (which I don’t think is a good idea anyway as it gives support to the fossil fuels that are stinking up the planet and causing climate change) and scrapping VAT on domestic fuel bills? Those will all make our bills more expensive!

But other ideas, including insulating 19 million homes to reduce energy demand and securing the UK’s energy supply by taking it away from foreign countries and companies with measures including doubling onshore and offshore wind capacity and increasing production of solar, tidal, hydrogen and nuclear power (nuclear? Really?) are better.

Ultimately it makes no difference, even though the SNP and the Liberal Democrats support the proposed price cap freeze, because the Conservatives are in office and they have already said they won’t make any decisions until a new prime minister has taken over in September.

They are unlikely to take on Labour’s taxation proposals if they can find any reason to object to them – and the concern about international taxation would certainly seem to be a red flag.

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Here’s how much your energy bills are set to rise – and how little your leaders are doing about it [VIDEO]

Non-leaders: Neither Rishi Sunak nor Liz Truss have shown any leadership over the huge cost-of-living crisis facing most people in the UK; it won’t affect them or the people they are trying to persuade to vote them into 10 Downing Street, who are all well-off members of the Conservative Party.

You see, sites like Vox Political aren’t just blowing smoke about this.

Your bill is likely to rise to a minimum of £4,266 per year by January (and although it’s not mentioned in the video, any lowering of the cost is likely to be very slow – so you probably will end up being asked to pay most of that amount). Do you have it?

The financial help offered by Rishi Sunak earlier this year has already been swallowed up by price rises and inflation, meaning you will still be out-of-pocket after receiving it.

And Boris Johnson has left any further relief action to his successor – either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak – neither of whom have shown any inclination to help the people at the sharp end of this: you and me.

The video is only a little more than a minute long. Here it is:

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Which is more irresponsible – overspending billions of public pounds or ‘financial repression’?

Rishi Sunak: I like this shot because he looks nervous. If I was in his position, asking Tory backbenchers to raise taxes, I’d be nervous too.

Rishi Sunak has been accused of wasting billions of pounds of public money – your money – because he failed to insure against interest rate rises on government debt.

It means higher than necessary payments on £900bn of reserves created through the quantitative easing (QE) programme, according to the National Institute of Economic and Social Research.

The loss over the past year is around £11 billion, the think tank estimates.

The Treasury has retaliated by saying NIESR’s proposal would undermine the independence of the Bank of England and be “hugely damaging” to the credibility of how public finances are managed.

Not only that, but there is an argument that, even if the Treasury had been able to predict the rate rise (which is possible), it would have been a potentially expensive bet – taking chances with the system.

Really?

Read the arguments here – if you can make sense of them.

The question for us as laypeople is, what do we think is more irresponsible – damaging the credibility of the public finances by pressuring the Bank of England to take a particular action, or damaging the credibility of the public finances by wasting £11 billion?

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