Tag Archives: energy bills

21 September 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Business energy bills announcement: a temporary sticking plaster
  • IFS debt analysis: Taxpayers footing the bill for Truss’s ideological obsessions
  • Conservatives handing banks a £6 billion tax cut, new research reveals
  • Calls for an Investigation into Failed Welsh Government Insulation Schemes
  • Demands Welsh Government ‘Names and Shame’ Property Developers Failing to Act on the Building Safety Scandal
  • Dental Crisis: Only 34% of Patients in Southwark Have Been Seen by an NHS Dentist in Past Two Years

Business energy bills announcement: a temporary sticking plaster

Responding to the government announcement on bills for businesses and the public sector, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson, Sarah Olney MP said:

This temporary sticking plaster comes too late for the many small businesses that already closed their doors for the last time because they couldn’t afford soaring bills.

The Conservatives have sat on their hands for months while treasured pubs, cafes and high street shops went to the wall.

This delayed announcement will leave our small businesses, schools and hospitals under a cloud of damaging uncertainty. The government have no plan beyond these next six months, paralysing businesses who need to make decisions for the long term. Support for high streets and public services should be in place for at least the next year and include measures to improve energy efficiency and cut bills in the long term.

The announcement shows the Conservatives have no plan and no understanding of the pressures facing our businesses and public services.

IFS debt analysis: Taxpayers footing the bill for Truss’s ideological obsessions

Responding to IFS analysis which shows debt is being left on an unsustainable path by the government, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney said:

Liz Truss is asking hard-pressed taxpayers to fund her ideological obsessions in the middle of the biggest cost of living crisis in a generation. This is no way to govern Britain.

The Conservatives are prioritising record oil company profits and bankers’ bonuses whilst families struggle to pay their own heating bills.

This Government has lost all sense of fiscal responsibility. Future generations will be paying off the Conservatives’ debt for years to come with no guarantee of economic growth.

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“Phony Freeze” – Ed Davey calls out Government as bills double from last year

Ed Davey has accused the Conservatives of bringing in a “phony freeze” on energy bills, after it emerged the average family will see their heating costs almost double this winter compared to last year.

Here he is challenging the Prime Minister:

Under the plans set out by Liz Truss today, energy costs will be capped at £2,500 a year for the average home, almost double the £1,277 the cap was set at last October. It is also an increase of over £500 on the current price cap.

Liberal Democrats were the first to call for energy bills to be properly frozen by keeping the current cap in place, funded by a tougher windfall tax on the record profits of oil and gas companies.

Ed said:

This phony freeze will still leave struggling families and pensioners facing impossible choices this winter as energy bills almost double.

Liz Truss and the Conservatives are choosing to allow this huge hike to people’s heating costs, while refusing to properly tax the eye-watering profits of oil and gas companies.

This is a deliberate choice and it is the wrong one. People are furious that once again the Conservatives are on the side of oil and gas giants making record profits rather than families struggling to make ends meet.

The point about a cap being funded at least in part by a windfall tax is an important one. Why should huge energy companies get an unexpected £170 billion bonanza and not have to contribute at all, yet a household on the average wage gets a huge hike in their bills this Winter?

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7 September 2022 – today’s (other) press release

Rural families in fuel poverty risk becoming “forgotten victims” as they face £450 bigger hit from energy price rise

Families living in fuel poverty in rural areas are set to be left £450 poorer than urban ones by October’s energy price rise, research commissioned by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

The analysis by the House of Commons Library shows that the average “fuel poverty gap,” the additional income that would be needed to bring a household to the point of not being fuel poor, is set to rise to a staggering £1,050 in rural areas in October. This compares to a projected fuel poverty gap of £600 in urban areas. It means fuel poor homes in rural areas will need around twice as much support to bring them out of fuel poverty than those in urban areas.

Meanwhile, rural households with the poorest insulation rating (energy efficiency rating of F or G) are expected to see a shocking average fuel poverty gap of £3,350.

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Ed Davey: £10bn energy bailout needed to save the high street

Earlier today we highlighted the impact of high energy costs on schools. And now Ed Davey has turned his attention to the commercial sector – retail and hospitality in particular.

He is calling on the new Prime Minister to set up an emergency support scheme for 1.4 million small businesses akin to those that appeared during lockdown. As we mentioned before, the energy price cap only applies to domestic households, so businesses could find their costs rising by 400%.

His proposal would offer grants of up to £50k to shops, pubs, restaurants and all small businesses to help them cope with huge energy bills. The grants would cover 80% of the increase in energy bills for one year, up to the maximum of £50k.

The cost of the scheme is estimated to be around £10 billion, and this could be covered by reversing the planned tax cuts for big banks. In detail, we are told that would include cancelling the Government’s cut to the Bank Surcharge that is due to take effect in April 2023 and restoring the Bank Levy to 2015 levels, raising £10.6 billion over the next four years.

Ed said:

Our treasured high streets risk being turned into ghost towns and small businesses across the country risk being devastated by sky-rocketing energy bills, but Conservative ministers don’t seem to get it or care.

Local shops, pubs and restaurants could all close their doors for the last time over the coming months unless the government steps up urgently.

We need an energy bailout now to save the high street, rescue small businesses and keep prices down for families. This could be funded by reversing the Conservatives’ tax cuts for the big banks, and focusing on saving our struggling small businesses instead.

There is no time to waste. The new Conservative Prime Minister must bring in legislation to protect families and businesses from soaring energy bills as soon as Parliament returns on Monday.

Makes sense. But will the new Prime Minister have the courage to do it?

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Schools struggle to meet energy bills

The crisis in energy bills is not just a impending disaster for households, but it will also affect all kinds of public and private organisations. Local councils, retailers and leisure centres all face huge rises in their energy costs and are not going to be “protected” by the cap in prices.

There has been a lot of talk about warm hubs (like these in Wales)- public places like libraries, museums and churches which could provide a warm, safe place for cold people.  But how will they afford to heat their own premises?

Schools too are affected.  The BBC reports on one academy trust that runs 11 schools. One of their schools has been quoted a staggering 414% price rise. If that was replicated across all their schools then the total energy bill would rise from just under £1 million to £4.6 million next year. This is on top of the 5% pay rise for staff.  Although the Government is increasing funding to schools it is clearly not going to be enough to meet these unprecedented financial challenges.

The CEO of the academy trust that is featured in the BBC article said:

Schools need to be places that are going to be warm and safe, especially as there are families whose homes won’t be warm.

The problem was echoed in a report in the Guardian. Sean Maher, the Head of one of the secondary schools near me, is quoted thus:

I’m really terrified about what’s going to happen to some of our parents. I’ve been a headteacher for nine years. I’ve dedicated my whole professional life to trying to give young people the very best opportunity to shine and grow and develop. I feel like I’m fighting against the government who are actively undermining what we are trying to do for young people.

How can it come to that in this country? Where we would be asking children to wear coats and gloves in the classroom because we can’t afford the heating? But it will happen. In schools up and down the country teachers will turn round and say: ‘Keep your coat on – we won’t put on the heating until the end of November’.

Now it was Labour who decided to take failing schools out of local authority control and hand them to the charitable sector as academies – and I have some sympathy where the local authorities were not doing a good job. But it was the Conservatives who had a vision for all schools, irrespective of the quality of the support they received, to become independent of local Councils, and to be taken out of democratic control and accountability. Initially academies were standalone institutions, but they quickly learned that they worked best when under an umbrella organisation – hence academy trusts, which are effectively privatised education authorities.

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“I can’t have her starving to death” – Carer Clare describes energy bill terror

We’ve mentioned several times before on this site about the impact of rising fuel bills on disabled people. It’s not just that if you are less mobile you need more heating, it’s about charging up wheelchairs, and running life sustaining equipment like feeding pumps.

Clare Steel* is a Labour Councillor in West Dunbartonshire. She cares for her 15 year old daughter Katie, who has complex medical conditions which mean she can’t walk, talk or swallow.

Katie depends on nine separate pieces of electrical equipment to keep her alive and make sure she can get washed and go up and down the stairs and move around and communicate- the very basic things required for human dignity.

Yesterday Clare spoke to Radio Scotland about her absolute terror about how she is going to pay the bills after 1st October. Right now I want to bundle up every single Conservative MP and put them in a room and make them listen to her. And I also want every person in the country to hear it so that they can understand the reality carers and disabled people are facing. You can listen here from about 20 minutes in.

Clare talked about the sort of equipment Katie has:

“Katie requires 24 hours care. That involves lots of medical equipment. Because Katie can’t eat, she has a pump which pumps high calorie milk into her bowel for 16 hours a day.”

She also has an 18 stone electric wheelchair which has a massive energy gobbling battery pack to get around as she can’t walk, a chairlift to get her up the stairs to her bed, an electric bath chair so that she can get in and out of the bath safely, a special bed and aids which enable her to communicate.

Every piece of equipment in Katie’s life allows Katie to be alive and function daily. I don’t have a choice about having these on charge constantly.

Clare was in tears when she asked:

How am I going to be able to keep Katie alive day in day out and not worry about how I am going to pay my energy bills. It’s just the reality. My worry is paying my electricity bill to have Katie’s machines. That’s not even including the cost of heat.

We don’t have options. There is no options. I was looking at a bath chair online which I could blow up so I might not have to use the bath chair, but that is only one thing. Katie’s wheelchair is 18 stone with a massive battery pack. Do I tell her she can’t have independence?

She needs her suction machine. I can’t have her choking to death. She needs her feeding pump, I can’t have her starving to death.

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14 August 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Government set to recover just a third of the £1 billion it pledged to claw back from Covid fraudsters
  • IPPR Analysis: Energy bills threaten to plunge millions into poverty this winter

Government set to recover just a third of the £1 billion it pledged to claw back from Covid fraudsters

  • The Government promised to recover £1bn between April 2021 and April 2023, but with just £226 million collected in 2021-22 it is all but certain to break its pledge.
  • Fraudsters are now on track to get away with £8 of every £10 they stole with £3.7bn of taxpayers’ money written off.
  • Liberal Democrats call on Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak to appoint a new fraud minister on day one to track down stolen taxpayers’ cash

The Government’s Covid fraud taskforce is on track to recover just a third of the £1 billion it pledged to claw back from fraudsters, new analysis of HMRC figures have revealed.

In 2021 Ministers set up the Taxpayer Protection Taskforce with the aim of recovering £1 billion of stolen funds related to its Covid support by the end of 2022-23. But new figures published by HMRC show the Government is lagging far behind this target.

They show the taskforce has recovered just £226 million so far in 2021-22, plus a mere £9 million in the first month of 2022-23. If it continues at this sluggish pace, the taskforce would bring back just £335 million by April 2023 – missing its target by two thirds, and allowing fraudsters to get away with another £665 million of stolen taxpayers’ money.

It means Covid scheme fraud is currently set to land taxpayers with a total £3.7 billion, with fraudsters keeping £8 of every £10 they stole. That money could fund the increase of nearly 2.3 million families’ energy bills as prices are set to rise again this October.

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Davey: We need leaders who can act over energy supplies

Writing in today’s Times, Lib Dem leader Ed Davey says that Boris Johnson has spent much of the past two weeks shacked up in his parliamentary office pleading for his own skin. Meanwhile, one hundred thousand Russian troops have massed on Ukraine’s border threaten the largest military action in Europe since the Second World War. Telling the Tories they need to get a grip fast, he warns that the gas Russia supplies to Europe could fall by up to 30 per cent and that already high gas prices will treble or worse.

Liberal Democrats have called for a “Robin Hood tax” on the super-profits of oil and gas producers and traders, including Russian energy giant, Gazprom.

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7 February 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Ghost Trains Add to GWR Chaos – Welsh Lib Dems
  • Davey: Govt needs to stop hitting people with higher energy bills
  • Vince Cable announces changes to top team
  • Lib Dem International Trade spokesperson slams Liam Fox for misleading House

Ghost Trains Add to GWR Chaos – Welsh Lib Dems

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have criticised Great Western Railway (GWR) for ‘ghost trains’ after trains after 21:00 between London Paddington and Swansea for Monday to Thursday next week (11th-14th) disappeared from the timetable.

The tickets have been removed from the timetable so passengers are unable to buy them but the trains don’t appear as cancellations on GWR’s …

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LibLink: Ed Davey says Government is “butchering UK’s renewables”

 

BusinessGreen refers to some of Ed Davey’s recent comments as a ‘blistering attack’ in which he ‘slams Conservative ministers’.

He was responding to some research, including Freedom of Information requests, that was carried out by the Carbon Brief. In a nutshell, Conservative ministers  have been claiming that household energy bills were rising because of a projected overspend of £1.5 billion by 2020 on subsidies for clean energy. Hence, they claim there was an urgent need to cut the subsidies for renewables.

But the disclosed emails between officials at the Department of Energy and Climate Change show that by last summer they already knew that energy bills would be 7% lower than originally projected.

According to BusinessGreen, Ed Davey claimed that ‘the revelations provided further evidence the government had slashed renewable energy subsidies on the false premise there was excessive upward pressure on energy bills. He also urged ministers to now release the full detail of the calculations used to project a £1.5bn overspend.’

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Edward Davey MP writes… A better deal for people on ‘pre-payment’ energy meters

Electric Meter on the Back of the HouseLiberal Democrats in Government are doing everything possible to help consumers with their energy bills.  Just last week I announced that by the end of the year energy suppliers will halve the time it takes to switch energy supplier from the current five to two and a half weeks.  This is just the first step to achieving my ambition of achieving 24 hour switching.

But there is more that can be done, and I have written to energy suppliers asking them to now focus on …

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Ed Davey makes QR codes compulsory on energy bills

ed-davey-post-officeAccording to the BBC: Energy bills to come with compulsory QR barcodes. This is one of Ed Davey’s initiatives as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. He explains:

The government hopes its plans will encourage the development of smartphone apps that let consumers swipe their phone over an energy bill to read data such as tariff and consumption.

The data could then be automatically uploaded to price comparison sites, to let consumers look at deals from other energy suppliers.

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Ed Davey writes… Lower energy bills – with good deal for the fuel poor, green energy and the green deal

Energy-bills-006Energy bills are a hot political topic. Since 2005, energy bills have almost doubled at a time when many people’s incomes have barely risen. The cause of these rises has been almost entirely rising wholesale gas prices on international markets. Yet despite that and even though the cost of government policies only represents 9% on the average bill, it is right the Government has closely scrutinised our policy costs, and found a way to reduce them, to deliver an average saving of £50.

The fact we have done so whilst protecting …

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Clegg and Farron champion green issues after Cameron appears to backtrack

Of course he hasn’t said this publicly, but the Telegraph reports that David Cameron has stated privately that he wants to “get rid of all the green crap” from Coalition policies.

Nick Clegg and Tim Farron are both quoted as robustly defending green measures and the jobs they create. Nick says that he doesn’t think the headlines portray David Cameron’s views.

On Call Clegg, Nick said:

Well, if I may use the word, it isn’t all crap, of course. It is worth remembering that a lot of the policies that we’ve got support tens of thousands of people who work in a

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Nick Clegg’s Letter from the Leader: Two big issues – free schools and energy bills

It would have been very surprising if Nick’s weekly letter hadn’t been on the subjects which have dominated the headlines this week – free schools and energy bills. Although, to be honest, I think it’s the energy bills that most voters are most concerned about and possibly merited a larger proportion of the Letter than they get. Nick makes the case for retaining the green charges which pay for the warm homes discount and home insulation programmes. Ed Davey wrote more about what he’s doing to keep down energy bills on this site last week. The thing is, it’s

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Clegg on Murnaghan: Osborne sat there and talked about “your tax threshold policy”

Nick Clegg LBCNick Clegg appeared on Sky News’ Murnaghan programme and took questions on a wide range of subjects. First up was the issue at the top of the headlines today – schools.

He said that his speech didn’t represent a great coalition crisis, that he was purely stating what he had always said and that it’s simply a difference of opinion between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives. While he remains a great supporter of freedom and diversity within the schools system, there are three things that he wants to ensure, and that he says the majority of parents expect wherever children receive their state funded education. They are:

  • that the National Curriculum will be taught
  • that teachers will be properly qualified
  • that the food on offer will be of decent quality

He said that the Tories didn’t favour basic standards about those things, but he did and had always made that case in government. He was keen to emphasise that nothing he was saying was new.

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Edward Davey writes: Working in partnership to keep bills down

Energy-bills-006I’m very aware just how many people are worried about bills, not least their energy bills.  These concerns will only increase over the coming months as the nights draw in, the temperature begins to drop and the ‘on switch’ for the heating is flicked.

I’m doing everything I can to help people keep their bills down, from piloting ‘collective switching’ which allows communities to use their buying power to get the best deals from energy suppliers, to legislating to make sure the ‘Big 6’ simplify bills, and switch people who are on ‘dead tariffs’ to the cheapest variable deal they offer.  We are also introducing competitition to the market to ensure we level up the playing field for independent generators and suppliers.

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Ed Davey writes: How we can tackle rising energy bills

Energy-bills-006As we enter the first cold snap of the year there will inevitably be a focus on the rising cost of energy – particularly after there have been inflation busting increases in gas and electricity tariffs of 6-10% over the past few months.

No country can stop the main cause of this – rising and high world prices for oil and gas. Yet we must do everything we can, to help people and firms struggling with these bills, especially the most vulnerable. And that’s why helping with energy bills has been and will be one of my top priorities.

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