Tag Archives: energy cap

“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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Energy price rises – are they really here?

So at last we have the announcement that the cap on energy prices will rise on 1st October from £1971 to an unprecedented £3539 pa. That is a massive rise of £130 a month. Or put another way, during the last quarter of this year the cost of electricity will nearly double (from 28p per kWh to 52p) and gas will more than double in price (from 7p to 15p per kWh).

This is completely unsustainable for people on low incomes and comes on top of the huge rise in other costs. For example, food costs for an average family have risen by £454 per year (£38 per month). The impact will not be spread evenly across society – people on lower incomes spend a much higher proportion on necessities, such as food and energy, than those on higher incomes.

According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation 22% of the UK population are in poverty – that’s 14.5 million. Of course, the actual number depends on which poverty index is used, in this case they use relative poverty, where households have less that 60% of the current median income after housing costs.

The costs of living crisis has been a hot topic over the summer recess, and we should not underestimate the stress it will have caused to so many people. The planned cashback will help but will not meet all the expected rises. So we will be hearing many more stories of people asking food banks for foodstuffs that do not need heating. The Trussell Trust has launched an emergency fund to help people with both food and fuel costs.

So far there is no response from the Government although the Prime Minister will be speaking later today.

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Davey: A cosy meeting with energy companies isn’t enough

 

Ed Davey has warned that tomorrow’s meeting between government ministers and energy companies risks becoming “a pointless talking shop” unless a tougher windfall tax is confirmed.

He demanded that the Business Secretary and Chancellor impose a tougher windfall tax on energy companies to fund the scrapping of October’s energy price rise. He wants the rate raised from 25% to 30% and its scope increased to include profits since October 2021.

He thinks this could raise around £20 billion, four times more than the government’s weaker levy is currently expected to generate.

Ed said:

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Scotsman: Lib Dems deserve praise for coming up with what looks like a plan

Praise for the Lib Dems’ call for October’s energy price rise to be scrapped from an unlikely source appears today. The Scotsman leader column says:

Labour’s party political point-scoring about Johnson being in office but not in government might impress some but hardly offers an alternative solution.

Instead it was left to the Liberal Democrats to come up with what sounds like an expensive but effective plan.

They called for the energy price cap to remain at its current rate with energy suppliers recompensed by government for rising wholesale prices to the tune of £36 billion, partly funded by an extended windfall tax on fossil fuel companies. As Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey rightly said, “this is an emergency, and the government must step in now”.

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