Plaid Cymru warns of ‘devastating consequences’ if UK Government fails to postpone April’s energy price hike
Plaid Cymru has warned of ‘devastating consequences’ unless the UK Government postpones a planned energy price hike in April.
Under the Energy Price Guarantee, the UK Government sets maximum prices for gas and electricity.
This is due to increase by 20% in April 2023, despite generally lower wholesale prices.
The Child Poverty Action Group estimate that if this increase goes ahead, 67.7% of Welsh households will be in fuel poverty, defined as spending 10 per cent or more of net after housing costs equivalent income on energy.
The CPAG make estimates of household fuel poverty based on secondary analysis of the Office for National Statistics Living Costs and Food Survey.
Plaid Cymru Treasury spokesperson, Ben Lake MP, has written to the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt MP, warning of the impact of the price hike on “families across Wales” unless the planned sharp rise to domestic energy bills is called off.
Mr Lake said that postponing the increase was “necessary to ensure more people are not dragged into fuel poverty”.
“The cost-of-living crisis has not abated for people in Wales and as such we urge you to postpone the 20% increase in the Energy Price Guarantee as a means of protecting many from further financial hardship,” Mr Lake writes.
“The Office for National Statistics showed that 35% of adults in Wales couldn’t afford to heat their homes to a comfortable standard in the run up to last Christmas, the highest of any nation in the UK.
“This was before the planned 20% increase in the EPG.”
“Postponing a further increase is now necessary to ensure more people are not dragged into fuel poverty. Not only is this the right decision but a practical one, as the expected fall in the cost of energy beyond July will mean that planned Government spending on the cap will be far less than was budgeted, allowing for money to be available for a postponement now. Maintaining the EPG will also help to reduce inflation which is disproportionately affecting the poorest households.
“If there is no postponement and the £400 Energy Bills Support Scheme is not extended, then this will have devastating consequences for families across Wales and the rest of the UK. National Energy Action predicts that the number of fuel poor households across the whole UK will rise from 6.7 million to 8.4 million from April.
“We urge you to give people certainty now ahead of the Budget in March and commit to maintaining the EPG rate of £2,500 a year for a typical household beyond April.”
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