Davey: Conservative candidates in parallel universe on cost of living crisis

Writing in the Express today, Ed Davey called for parliament to be recalled to pass legislation to halt the increase in energy prices that are driving much of the cost of living crisis. With food prices rising and set to rise further, the Lib Dems are calling for a broader package. Davey said we should double the Warm Homes Discount and extend it to more people. Double the Winter Fuel Allowance to give 11 million pensioners up to £600 off their bills. Raise Universal Credit by £20 a week. And thinking longer term, he says the government should begin an emergency home insulation programme, starting with homes in or at risk of fuel poverty.

Energy bills soaring, inflation soaring, interest rates soaring, and as the cost-of-living crisis turns into a cost-of-living catastrophe our government is that of a zombie, limping on – helping no one.

Our country is in the grip of a cost-of-living emergency, nothing like this has been seen in generations.

Millions of families and pensioners are being forced to choose between heating and eating, millions more are worried about how they will pay their bills this winter.

While millions of people suffer, Conservative Ministers have barely lifted a finger to help, and the two candidates to be Prime Minister are living in a parallel universe with no grasp on how to tackle the issues facing people.

The Conservatives have no plan to tackle the big energy firms and their enormous profits…

We simply cannot afford more inaction in the face of another even bigger rise in October.

While millions of people suffer, Conservative Ministers have barely lifted a finger to help, and the two candidates to be Prime Minister are living in a parallel universe with no grasp on how to tackle the issues facing people.

The Conservatives have no plan to tackle the big energy firms and their enormous profits, they have no plan to support people on the scale we need and they have no plan to come back from their holidays to do what we are here to do – take urgent action…

We need bold and urgent action to help families pay their bills and heat their homes this winter. There is no other choice, we simply cannot afford more inaction in the face of another even bigger rise in October.

This is an emergency, and the Government must step in now to save families and pensioners £1,600 by cancelling the planned rise in energy bills this October…

We would pay for it by expanding the windfall tax on oil and gas companies, and by using the extra tax revenues the Treasury is currently raking in thanks to soaring inflation.

Our Liberal Democrat plan would see households saved from energy price hikes…

We have now prepared legislation that is ready and waiting to implement our plans to scrap the energy price rise. Parliament must be recalled now so we can pass this law as soon as possible.

But, while cancelling bills will go far to help millions this winter, it will not be enough on its own. Families and pensioners are already facing sky-high bills, they have already gone up by £800 this year, so we need targeted measures to help those who are struggling the most.

The government [must] double the Warm Homes Discount and extend it to more people; double the Winter Fuel Allowance to give 11 million pensioners up to £600 off their bills; raise Universal Credit by £20 a week; and implement an emergency home insulation programme to cut people’s energy bills in the long-term, starting with homes in or at risk of fuel poverty…

But none [of these] will prevent the economic and social catastrophe that is to come if bills rise by £1,600 in October as planned, with further pain in January.

That rise is not inevitable. It is a choice the Government is making – and there is still time for Ministers to choose a different path.

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18 Comments

  • Michael Cole 11th Aug '22 - 1:13pm

    Ed Davey is of course aware of the massive energy crisis. Unlike Truss and Sunak who seem to believe that the problem can be solved by tax cuts or ‘hand-outs’ and that a one-off tax on energy companies would lead to much reduced investment.

    Isn’t it about time that we made the public aware of Ed’s achievements as Environment minister in the 2010-15 coalition. Surely there are LDs who can provide the detail.

    Amongst other things, he set up companies manufacturing climate friendly products which we could export to the rest of the world. These enterprises were either subsequently trashed by the Conservatives or sold off to their cronies.

  • Michael Cole 11th Aug ’22 – 1:13pm:
    Isn’t it about time that we made the public aware of Ed’s achievements as Environment minister in the 2010-15 coalition.

    That’s already being done…

    ‘The Tories must abandon this vanity contest and act now on energy prices’ [9th. August 2022]:
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/columnists/2022/08/09/tories-must-abandon-vanity-contest-act-now-energy-prices/

    A recording has been circulating on social media of Liberal Democrat leader, Ed Davey, telling Channel 4 News’s Cathy Newman how proud he is to be the person who single-handedly stopped the UK fracking industry. Well, when the evening news in December is full of stories about families who can’t afford to use the kettle, we can all raise a mug of cold tea to Davey the…

  • > the person who single-handedly stopped the UK fracking industry. Well, when the evening news in December is full of stories about families who can’t afford to use the kettle, we can all raise a mug of cold tea to Davey the…
    That is a problem – people don’t do detail. To many, it is irrelevant that the fracking industry would have made an insignificant dent in our oil and gas imports, they would have seen the almost magical press reports with big numbers being banded around about how fracking would save the day and believed in the fairy story.

  • Joseph Bourke 11th Aug '22 - 2:58pm

    One of Ed Davey’s greatest strengths is the experience he brings to the table from his stint as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change in the coalition government. That department became part of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy in July 2016 losing the emphasis on Climate Change in the process.
    With the Climate Crisis now upon us, Ed is rightly linking these critical issues. The US this week has passed major legislation that includes a minimum 15% tax on most corporations that make more than $1bn a year in profits and $369bn for climate action – the largest investment in the issue in US history. Billions will also be spent in an effort to speed up the production of clean technology such as solar panels and wind turbines US Senate passes sweeping climate, tax and healthcare package.
    Here in Europe, the head of the European Space Agency (ESA) has warned economic damage from heatwaves and drought could dwarf Europe’s energy crisis as he called for urgent action to tackle climate change Climate risks dwarf Europe’s energy crisis, space chief warns
    “Today, we are very concerned about the energy crisis, and rightly so. But this crisis is very small compared to the impact of climate change, which is of a much bigger magnitude and really has to be tackled extremely fast,” he said.

  • Michael Cole 11th Aug '22 - 3:04pm

    Jeff: I’m glad to hear that. I don’t often bother to read the Telegraph.

    But anyway, Ed’s achievements and foresight should be given more publicity where possible.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 11th Aug '22 - 4:10pm

    Ed comes to this with real strength amounting to opposition leader!

    The other now, missing on hols, leader, saying nothing yet.

    There is a crisis. Some, me on here, weeks ago, many of us beyond party politics, have called for this, as to be almost unique in Europe to have prices at retail point, this high for electricity, is morally and practically wrong and disaterous. In good times a reliance on a regulated market for this is fine. In a crisis, post Brexit, covid , war, it is a nonsense.

    Truss ia awful. Sunak better. Starmer….? Come back from holiday and say what you would do Sir Keir!

  • Peter Watson 11th Aug '22 - 4:35pm

    @Jeff ” how proud he [Ed Davey] is to be the person who single-handedly stopped the UK fracking industry”
    He’s also the person who told the Royal Society in 2013, “I want to make the calm, rational, objective case for shale gas exploration in the UK … UK shale gas can be developed sensibly and safely, protecting the local environment, with the right regulation.” (https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/the-myths-and-realities-of-shale-gas-exploration)

  • Would this be the same Ed Davey who, as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change in the coalition government in January 2014, described Labour leader Ed Miliband’s suggestion that a two-year energy price freeze as “highly irresponsible” and a “con”?

    Still let’s ignore that; after all “There is more joy in heaven because of one sinner who repents than over 99 people who don’t need to”

  • Andy Boddington 11th Aug '22 - 7:16pm

    That was eight years ago. You can’t expect any politician to stand by statements nearly a decade ago when the political, social and financial world was totally different.

  • nigel hunter 11th Aug '22 - 9:10pm

    Ecotricity CEO on Channel 4 news tonight pointed out that we have the HIGHEST cost and France, for example the smallest.It was also mentioned that the gas WE take out of the North Sea is priced on the world market price hence the cost.If the govnt had the savvy it could reduce this cost to zero.That would help .Equally I understand that the overall cost of energy is set by the MOST EXPENSIVE PROVIDER.THAT INFLATES THE COST.Equally galling is that the National Grid has sold ,quietly, 60% stake in our gas network to Aussies Macquarie and a group of CHINESE and Quatari buyers.The security in our fuel resources do not seem to matter to this Government.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 11th Aug '22 - 10:03pm

    expats

    Often I would rake those who are two faced or inconsistent over the hot coals. But let us be fair. That is not true of Ed Davey on that. As Andy says, that was a very free and competative energy market. Don’t misinterpret me, I am to the left of Ed on economics, if little else. But then his genuine aim was to get the very good deal for the consumer. To freeze energy levels then could have been to lock customers into a particular supplier. Ed stated his aim was to get the right to regularly switch provision, ie move to a better energy co. I think he has a pragmatic notion of political realities. Then it was to solve the debt via coalition and find compromise with Tories. Now it is to solve the crisis we are in and be free to oppose the Tories.

    I have wanted , called for and yet do want and make a noise for more. But Ed has offered more than most this week thank goodness.

  • Nigel, National Grid only owned the gas transmission network, not the gas resource. As they still do the electricity transmission system, at least in England and Wales.
    They are owned by various big energy companies from around the world.
    Ed’s proposals, spot on!

  • ndy Boddington 11th Aug ’22 – 7:16pm………That was eight years ago. You can’t expect any politician to stand by statements nearly a decade ago when the political, social and financial world was totally different………..

    In 2014 there were very many households facing the ‘heat or eat’ choice..Nothing has changed except the number growing year on year..In 2017 the May government copied the idea and what Ed Davey described as a ‘Con’ became a “crackdown on energy rip-offs”…
    That was only 4 years..Nuff said!

  • We should be advocating as well as a programme of home insulation, urgent investment on further renewable energy and incentives for heat pumps to be installed throughout the land.

  • nigel hunter 11th Aug ’22 – 9:10pm:
    Ecotricity CEO on Channel 4 news tonight pointed out that we have the HIGHEST cost and France, for example the smallest.

    France has rigged it’s market by forcing EDF to sell at a loss…

    ‘EDF sues French government for £7bn after being forced to sell energy at a loss’ [August 2022]:
    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/aug/10/edf-sues-french-government-for-7bn-after-forced-to-sell-energy-at-a-loss-macron-price-cap

    The UK has a high percentage of intermittent renewables so is heavily dependent on gas (the only dispatchable source of energy which can balance wind power).

    It was also mentioned that the gas WE take out of the North Sea is priced on the world market price hence the cost.

    Natural gas is mostly consumed in the region or country where it’s extracted. Just over 10% is exported by pipeline and a similar amount as LNG. Although traded internationally there is no “world market price”. Currently, the US spot price at Henry Hub is $8.14 per million BTU while the UK NBP price is currently almost six times higher at $48.00…

    Henry Hub Natural Gas Spot Price:
    https://www.eia.gov/dnav/ng/hist/rngwhhdW.htm

    UK NBP NATURAL GAS (USD/MMBTU):
    https://www.tradingview.com/symbols/NYMEX-NBP1!/

    NBP = National Balancing Point, a virtual location in the UK pipeline network where supply and demand balance at the quoted price.

    MMBTU = Million British Thermal Units.

  • Jenny Barnes 13th Aug '22 - 9:07am

    It’s very unlikely that fracking for gas in the UK would ever have been financially viable for anyone but scammers. The shale rock is not nice and flat like in north dakota, and the population density in the UK is much higher. Driving all those trucks down narrow country roads with protestors lying in the way would not work so well. And who pays to clear up the mess afterwards? oh, the taxpayer again.

  • mick taylor 13th Aug '22 - 9:12am

    Our party has always been too timid to say that public ownership of power, water and trains was better than the rip off private sector that runs them now. There are many in our party who still believe the myths about nationalised industries spread by the Tories to justify selling off power, water and the railways.
    France has not followed our ill-fated example and can thus help the French people by greatly reducing the rise in their energy costs. True, there is a price to pay, but it’s not being paid by low income families and power companies are not making obscene profits or paying megabucks to their shareholders.
    Taking power, water and railways back into public ownership is actually popular with voters. I cannot for the life of me understand why it’s such a no no for the Lib Dems.

  • Peter Martin 13th Aug '22 - 9:54am

    “Taking power, water and railways back into public ownership is actually popular with voters. I cannot for the life of me understand why it’s such a no no for the Lib Dems.”

    It’s also a no-no for the Labour Party under Keir Starmer.

    So an ideal opportunity for the Lib Dems to outflank Labour from the left with a highly popular policy?

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