Cost of Living Crisis - The Government needs to take action

September 4, 2022 8:00 AM
Originally published by Dave Hodgson - Mayor of Bedford Borough

Cost of LivingThis week, we saw the shocking news that almost one in four adults will not switch their heating on this winter.

A survey of over 2,000 adults found 23% would do without heating over the winter months. That figure was even higher for parents with children under the age of 18, with 27% saying they would be forced to leave the radiators cold.

About 70% said they would turn their heating on less, while 11% said they were considering taking out a loan to cover extra costs. That figure rose to 17% for those with children.

The poll was conducted before the regulator Ofgem announced the energy price cap would increase by 80% from October. The energy price rise will take the average gas and electricity bill from £1,971 to £3,549 a year, and it is expected to rise even further in January.

The Government needs to take action and tackle the growing Cost of Living crisis.

We will have a new Prime Minister next week and this needs to be their number one priority!

The Government should cancel October's price cap increase. Cancelling the increase would save a typical household in Bedford Borough around £1,700 a year. This would mean a total estimated saving for households in Bedford Borough of over £118 million off their electricity and gas bills. The cost could be met by expanding the windfall tax on oil and gas company profits.

You can join the campaign to scrap the energy price hike at https://change.libdems.org.uk/energy

The Liberal Democrats have also called for an Energy Bailout to help our local shops, pubs and restaurants.

The Energy Bailout would be similar to the COVID-style support scheme to help shops, pubs, restaurants and other small businesses cope with sky-rocketing energy bills by offering grants of up to £50,000.

Unlike households, businesses are not covered by Ofgem's energy price cap. Many could see their energy bills rise by almost 400%, with devastating consequences.

Under the proposals, small and medium-sized businesses would be offered government grants to cover 80% of the increase in their energy bills for one year, up to a maximum of £50,000. For example, a typical small restaurant would receive a grant of around £10,000 to help with their bills. The plans would benefit the 1.4 million small businesses across the UK, from high street shops to local pubs and cafes.

The estimated £10 billion cost of the scheme could be met by reversing the Conservatives' tax cuts for big banks - which are seeing their profits grow with rising interest rates. That would include cancelling the Government's cut to the Bank Surcharge that is due to take effect in April 2023.

There's no time to waste. Small businesses need support now. The new Prime Minister must bring in legislation to protect businesses from soaring energy bills.

The Cost of Living Crisis is affecting everyone and it would be really helpful to know your experience - please fill in the survey at https://bedfordlibdems.org.uk/cost