It’ll be no surprise that some constituents have been in touch with me in the past few weeks to raise concerns about rising energy prices. I can entirely appreciate the concerns particularly when we hear about prices going up in the shops, general inflation and interest rate rises.
I am in close contact with Ministerial colleagues to pass on these concerns, and I know that they are working hard to do what they. We are not alone in the UK. Energy prices are rising rapidly worldwide In the same way that energy prices were falling a few years ago. This is being driven by a number of factors, and the recent tensions between Russia and the west certainly have not helped.
Several policies have been suggested to help mitigate the impact of price rises on customers. These include a VAT cut, which would certainly reduce customer costs but would be an overly blunt tool, helping millionaires more than those on lowest incomes. Other suggestions have been a removal of green levies, which would be welcome as a general concept but again would not be focussed on those who need it.
So I am pleased that the Government is instead looking to assist with several targeted schemes. These include the Warm Home Discount - which supports 2.2 million people with a £140 discount on their energy bills. There are also Winter Fuel Payments and the Cold Weather Payments – these also provide valuable support to the most vulnerable to ensure they are able to heat their homes in the colder months.
Whilst our Government can’t control global energy prices, it can target support where it’s needed and invest in cheaper, cleaner energy for the future such as nuclear energy alongside gas generators powered by less expensive UK gas supplies.
Above all I hope and expect the prices to fall again in the years ahead as global supplies increase.