Labour held an Opposition Day debate relating to the rising price of energy in the UK, and how this is having a detrimental impact on the cost of living. People are going cold and hungry in their own homes.
I hoped to represent my constituents in this debate but was not called to speak. You can read below the speech I would have given:
The global rise in wholesale energy prices has already led to 27 energy suppliers going bust in 2021.
Customers have seen some increases in their bills but have largely been protected by the Energy price cap.
Even so – The chair of the Lewisham Pensions forum, Bridget Sam Bailey was speaking on BBC news yesterday about her personal experience of rising fuel prices.
She spoke about the misery of suffering in her home due to increase in fuel prices. Her pension can no longer cover the cost to warm her home. She often stays in bed and only heats one room. She no longer has financial freedom.
Her situation is not unusual. She and so many others are experiencing a poor quality and standard of life – surely this not what the Government wishes for our older generation, who should be treated with dignity and respect.
Does the Government view this to be acceptable? We on the Labour benches do not.
We want a better quality of life for our older people, vulnerable people and for low wage earners.
Over the weekend I met a lady who in her home was wearing a winter coat and a blanket. From the outside of her semi-detached house, you could not identify the misery and deprivation of heat that she was experiencing.
I now wish to speak about children and young people. The Government needs to ask themselves how coldness affects a child’s development, how it affects their learning and their ability to play… Because it does and it is a sign of poverty.
The rise in fuel prices is driving people and families into poverty.
According to the Maslow hierarchy of needs, the most basic needs are food, water, warmth, and rest. People’s most basic need for warmth is not being met.
For some illnesses like Sickle cell disease, if you do not have sufficient warmth it could bring on a sickle cell crisis and can lead to hospitalisation, organ damage and at its worst, death.
The Government must not bury its head in the sand. Deprivation of warmth is serious!
Our country is facing a cost of living crisis and a growing strain on businesses – with petrol, food and energy bills skyrocketing.
Families and children up and down our country deserve so much better.
So what is the Government going to do about it? And what are they going to do to prevent further hikes in gas prices?
In February, Ofgem will announce the new price cap for April 2022 onwards. According to energy sector specialist Cornwall Insights, bills could rise by 46%, from £1,277 a year under the current price cap to £1,865 a year.
Labour’s plan is to keep energy bills low.
This would be achieved through scrapping VAT off home energy bills for a whole year – alongside focused and targeted support through increasing and expanding the Warm Homes Discount to 9.3 million people.
The Labour party is also proposing that a windfall tax would help fund to reduce the expected energy price rise in April.
Labour has a plan about making real savings and passing those savings on to most households.
Can the Government tell us their plan to solve the ‘cost of living’ crisis – because leaving the EU is certainly not helping us, is it?