Retail trade union Usdaw continues to call for urgent action to tackle spiralling energy costs after the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) forecasts an energy price cap of around £2,800 in October. This is a further increase from the current £1,971 set in April, which was a 54% hike from £1,278, and it would raise the typical fuel bill by £800.
Usdaw again calls on the Government to announce an emergency budget to include:
- Levying a windfall tax on the huge profits of North Sea oil and gas producers, to protect the most vulnerable from rising energy bills.
- Reducing Value Added Tax (VAT) from 20% to 17.5%.
- An increase to all social security payments by at least the level of inflation.
- Urgent and fundamental overhaul of Universal Credit, which includes significant investment, to ensure it provides a social security benefit that more consistently supports workers in low-paid employment.
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary say: “It is absolutely spine chilling that the energy price cap is expected to more than double in a little over six months and that could plunge millions of households into fuel poverty. Yet the Government continues its ‘wait and see’ policy on whether they are going to help, while so many working people are struggling to make ends meet.
“The Government is clearly out of touch with the real lives of low-paid working people, as they fail to back Labour’s windfall tax proposal, along with other much needed measures. Ministers must now choose to help workers battle raging inflation and reject protecting the huge profits of oil and gas producers.
“We need an emergency budget. Usdaw is calling for an immediate increase to all social security payments by at least the level of inflation, followed by an urgent and fundamental overhaul of Universal Credit and a VAT reduction to 17.5%.
“We warned the Government not to stand back and watch as their cost of living crisis unfolds. Today’s appalling forecast on energy costs lays bare the scale of the challenge faced by millions of workers across the country and there is no time for more dither and delay.”
Usdaw’s cost of living survey of over 6,500 workers lays bare the scale of the difficulties many working people are experiencing. Key findings are:
- Two-thirds have relied on borrowing to pay their everyday bills, with around half of them struggling with repayments.
- 82% of working parents feel worse off now than they did last year, more than a quarter of all parents have missed meals in the last year to pay bills.
- Two-thirds are significantly cutting down on heating in order to cope. Shockingly, a quarter will no longer use the heating at all.