Energy price cap rise will ‘hammer households even harder’ this year, union body warns

UK is 'feeding foreign firms’ profits’ as charities blast Britain’s broken energy system

Cost of living

The leading trade union body has slammed government policy for benefiting corporate profiteering at the expense of household bills, leading renewed calls to nationalise the energy sector after the 5% energy price cap rise.

Households will be ‘hammered even harder’ in 2024 the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has said, as the Ofgem price cap rise came into effect from January 1, which will see households across the country face a 5% increase in their energy bill.

It has led to further warnings from charities about struggling households facing another cold start to the year and renewed calls for government support to help households struggling with their energy bills.

“No one should struggle to get by in one of the richest countries in the world,” said TUC General Secretary Paul Nowak.

“But 13 years of wage stagnation and cuts to social security have left millions badly exposed to sky-high bills this winter.”

With energy bills already 50% higher than two years ago, Nowak said the price cap rise will only “hammer households even harder in the coming year”.

He said: “It doesn’t have to be this way. Other governments are investing in publicly owned clean power and insulating homes.

“The UK is feeding foreign firms’ profits and subsidising cheaper bills abroad, while British households struggle to heat their homes and pay their bills.”

The average household energy bill is expected to rise by £94 after the energy price cap increased to £1,928 at the start of the year. 

According to Ofgem, the price hike is a result of the international rise in the wholesale cost of gas and electricity, due to market instability and global events.

Charities have warned of the effects the energy bill rise will have on struggling homes in the UK, as well as laying out what action they want to see the government take in 2024.

End Fuel Poverty Coalition has blasted Britain’s ‘broken energy system’ that has left the most vulnerable hit with fuel poverty this winter. The campaign group has called on politicians to act and commit to greater investment in insulation and efficient heating system schemes, as well as the rapid expanding of renewable energy.

Commenting on the Ofgem price cap rise, Simon Francis from End Fuel Poverty Coalition said: “Energy bills are going up just as winter bites hard, Christmas debts have to be paid off and the ongoing wider cost of living crisis continues into another year.”

Warm This Winter, a coalition of 50 leading UK charities, warned of the effects the government’s inaction at tackling the energy crisis will have across services.  

“Failure to avert this cold homes crisis will lead to pressure on the NHS, a mental health catastrophe and additional winter deaths caused by living in cold damp homes,” said Fiona Waters, Warm This Winter spokesperson.

Among the demands Warm This Winter has of the government going into 2024 are:

Provide emergency support to those who need it

Invest in insulation and energy efficiency

Unblock cheaper renewable energy

Free us from expensive oil and gas

The coalition has previously called for an Emergency Energy Tariff for vulnerable people and a Help To Repay Scheme for those in energy debt.

Households are being urged to submit meter readings as quickly as possible so they are charged correctly since the regulator’s January price cap rise.

Hannah Davenport is news reporter at Left Foot Forward, focusing on trade unions and environmental issues

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