Responding to Ofgem’s announcement today, 24th May 2022, that the energy price cap is to rise to £2,800 in October, Labour’s Cllr Liz Terry, Lead Councillor for Corporate Services and Resources on Reading Borough Council, said:
“This is a staggering rise – and will hammer families across Reading.
“Reading Labour have introduced schemes to support those on the lowest incomes in our town, but the scale of this crisis means that the Conservative Government desperately needs to step up.
“For months Labour has been calling for an emergency budget with a windfall tax on the bumper profits of oil and gas companies to help families in Reading with their energy bills, but the Conservatives in Westminster have refused.
“Bills are set to more than double in a single year. The case for Labour’s windfall tax has always been clear – now it is undeniable. It’s time for the Conservatives to stop dithering and give families the help they desperately need.”
1. The energy price cap is set to rise to £2,800 in October: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/ofgem-sunak-price-increase-cost-living-b2086103.html.
2. Reading Labour introduced an Energy and Food Voucher Scheme for individuals and families across the town who are on low incomes: https://media.reading.gov.uk/news/new-council-energy-and-food-vouchers-for-struggling-residents.
2. The Labour Party first called for a windfall tax on 9 January, to fund a VAT cut on home energy bills and expand and increase the Warm Homes Discount, saving families struggling with soaring costs up to £600 off their bills. Since then, the party has called on the Conservative Government to bring forward this change almost 250 times. It comes as BP and Shell alone have made £12.37bn of profit in the first three months of 2022 – despite Cabinet ministers describing these companies as “struggling” when defending the Conservatives’ refusal to implement a windfall tax.
3. Analysis by the Labour Party reveals the expected profits of North Sea oil and gas firms in 2022/23 are higher than the combined rise in energy bills for every household in the UK. As well as growing support from the Conservative backbenches, there is also widespread public support for a windfall tax, including senior business figures such as the chairs of Tesco and John Lewis.
4. Labour has called on the government to bring forward an emergency budget – and prioritise five measures that could be enacted now, to make a material difference to the millions of pensioners and working people feeling the crunch from the crisis:
- Put a windfall tax on oil and gas producers to cut home energy bills: Bring in a one-off windfall tax on oil and gas producer profits, to cut household bills by up to £600, including through a VAT cut on home energy bills and an increase and expansion of the Warm Homes Discount.
- Provide support for struggling businesses: Labour would cut taxes for businesses by giving SMEs a discount on their business rates bill worth up to £5,700 this year, funded by a tax on the online giants. We’d also bring in a £600 million contingency fund, raised by the windfall tax on oil and gas producer profits, for those industries and businesses struggling the most with rising bills like steel and other energy-intensive firms.
- Spike the hike: Scrap the National Insurance hike which this government has introduced in the midst of a cost of living crisis.
- Insulate homes: Commit to a rapid ramp up of home upgrades with a clear target to meet by the end of the year, to make them more energy efficient and cheaper to heat, saving households £400 on average every year.
- Stop the waste: Allow the National Crime Agency to investigate the £11.8 billion of taxpayer funds lost to fraud and error, so no more taxpayer money is flushed down the drain.