Rochdale MP, Tony Lloyd, has slammed Government Ministers for being ‘uncaring and incompetent’ amid concerns that an increase in energy prices, at the same time as cuts to Universal Credit and the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, will force millions of low income families into poverty.
Tony said, “The Government were warned well in advance that their over reliance on market forces and their welcome to companies in the energy market who simply weren’t up to the job, has left the people of this country in jeopardy as energy prices rocket upwards. They are incompetent.
“Sadly, they are uncaring. Recent rocketing energy costs will push some 1.28million people on low incomes into poverty. It comes at the same time as the Conservatives force through the £1,040 a year cut to Universal Credit, and the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
“Next year will also see an increase in National Insurance payments. The Conservative Government appears to be oblivious about the impact of this on families, or seems uncaring.
“Meanwhile, British Gas doubled its half profits this year whilst increasing energy bills and pursuing a shameful fire and rehire campaign within its own highly-skilled workforce.
“People are fed up of being ripped-off, as recent polling suggests with support for public ownership of energy increasing in recent years.
“That is why I have signed a Parliamentary motion putting pressure on the Government to scrap these cuts and increase regulation and public ownership of private energy, which will lower consumer bills and deliver a better investment in infrastructure and a faster switch to renewable energy.”
Last year, a poll by Survation found 63% supporting public ownership of utilities, including 54% of Conservative voters.
From the 1st October, those on default tariffs paying by direct debit will see an increase of £139 from £1,138 to £1,277, and prepayment customers will see an increase of £153 from £1,156 to £1309. Six energy companies have left the energy market as a result of recent gas price rises, which means customers risk being switched to alternative, and potentially more expensive, providers.
Tony Lloyd is one of 22 cross-party Members of Parliament to co-sign an Early Day Motion (EDM), pressuring the Government to ‘increase regulation and public ownership of private energy provision’ to ensure ‘better investment in infrastructure, a faster switch to renewable energy, better staffing terms and conditions, and lower consumer bills.’
The motion also states that ‘public financial support for energy providers should come with clear conditions, including restrictions on elements of the private operating model such as dividend payments, excessive CEO remuneration, and with the option of public provision in the energy sector.’
Notes for editors:-
• The full text of the motion, including the list of signatories, can be viewed here