Having been promised an energy price freeze, millions of hard-pressed families will be shocked and fearful when, on 1 October, they are hit with a 25% rise in their fuel bills.After a summer of doing nothing the government looked as if it had done a lot, but it has not done anywhere near enough.
In 10 days’, the cap on energy bills will rise to an unprecedented £2,500 a year. This is an average increase of £10 a week, on top of April’s rise of £14 a week.
Fuel costs will, according to Jonathan Bradshaw and Antonia Keung at York University, consume an unprecedented 20% of the income of 4.1 million families in October.
By May, that figure could rise to 7.4 million. For 2.2 million families, energy bills will take up an unpayable 30% of their income, and this could rise to 3.8 million families by May.Never has fuel poverty hit so many people so hard, and unless new help is announced for low-income families on Friday, Liz Truss’s £150bn energy package will remain so poorly targeted that it will not prevent 5 million children falling into poverty this winter, and an ever larger proportion of our nation from turning up at one of the country’s 3,000 food banks.When in June, the then chancellor, Rishi Sunak, was widely applauded for appearing to solve the heating costs crisis, I wrote that it would not be enough to prevent hardship.Read more on theguardian.com