Industry regulator Ofgem announced today the October price cap will rise by 80 percent to an eye-watering £3,549. Adam Scorer, chief of National Energy Action has said “the poorest households will be facing armageddon over the winter”, urging the Government to “step in”.
Money Saving expert Martin Lewis called the announcement “sickening news” which “is set to get worse pretty soon”.
But while millions of households could enter into poverty as bills soar while inflation is at double figures and has been tipped to get worse, MPs may be able to keep their pockets full.
As there is currently no limit to what our political representatives can claim on expenses, campaigners at the Taxpayers’ Alliance have urged the Government to limit MPs’ utilities expenses.
John O’Connell, from the TPA, said: “While energy bills soar, taxpayers are bound to be concerned that their hard-earned money is being used to insulate MPs from the cost of living crisis.”
Journalist Lorraine King tweeted: “Let’s not forget that all MPs can claim the energy bills for their second homes on expenses.
“Wouldn’t it be a lovely gesture if they paid for it out of their own £84,144+ salaries and donated the same amount to a food bank. Wouldn’t that be a great way of showing that they care?”
This comes after it was revealed more than 400 MPs, including frontrunner in the Tory leadership contest Liz Truss, claimed expenses for heating bills on second homes since 2019.
Also caught out for claiming expenses was former Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who expensed £2,751 on oil deliveries last year.
But at this time, the price cap for the estimated annual household energy bill was under £1,200.
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Former Science Minister George Freeman expensed £1,565 for electricity and other fuel, while Sara Britcliffe, the Tory MP for Hyndburn, expensed a £1,600 electricity bill with EDF Energy.
Excluding water bills, taxpayer money funded £149,000 worth of MPs’ energy bills.
Meanwhile Ms Truss, who is well ahead of her opposite number Rishi Sunak in the polls to become the next Prime Minister, expensed £1,548 for gas and electricity over the last three years.
Despite this, the only concrete pledge she has made is a temporary moratorium on the green levy, which would only knock £160 off bills annually.
That now appears a drop in the ocean compared to the staggering October price cap, which forecasters have warned could even hit £5,000 by January.
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EDF’s Managing Director of Customers Philippe Commaret said half of UK households will be in fuel poverty that month if the Government does not provide adequate help.
But Ms Truss has previously promised not to provide “handouts” amid the cost of living crisis, instead arguing that cutting taxes can alleviate some of the burden.
However, Ms Truss has since been accused of U-turning on this position after it emerged that she may be preparing a package including billions of pounds in targeted support to pensioners and the poorest households.
But she has argued that the solution to the crisis will not just be to “bung more money into the system”.
Instead, Ms Truss argues that “what we need is to fix the supply of energy. If people think this problem is going to be over in six months they’re not right”.
However, fixing supplies could be a long-term, rather than short-term solution to the problem.
And with bills rising imminently, vulnerable households will need additional support from the Government, likely above the £400 that is set to be offered to all households from October.