Unthinkable price rises call for decisive action – JRF responds to new Ofgem price cap
Following Ofgem’s announcement of their new price cap, which will see prices rise to £3549 for typical usage from October with further extreme rises forecast for January and for April, Katie Schmuecker, Principal Policy Adviser for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation said:
“It is simply unthinkable that the price rises announced today can go ahead without further Government intervention on a significant scale. To force the burden of rising wholesale energy prices onto households will plunge many into destitution. Millions more will face the threat of bills they simply cannot pay, homes they cannot heat and stomachs they cannot fill.
“It is the job of Government to decide how the burden is fairly shared between families, businesses and the public finances. Whoever occupies number 10 next will be remembered for who they protect - they must make sure energy doesn’t become a luxury only the wealthy can afford.
“People are already being pushed into heart-breaking situations, disconnecting themselves from energy, skipping showers and going without food so their children can eat. And this is before we’ve even hit the big price rise and colder weather. Households are crying out for certainty and security.
“The Government must immediately respond with a comprehensive emergency package to cover the period of these extreme price rises, just as they did so creatively and quickly with furlough during the early stages of the pandemic.
“The crucial tests will be whether help is weighted toward the worst off, whether it is sufficiently large in scale and and whether it covers the period of high prices – which now look set to last into next winter. This will buy some breathing space to fix the underlying problems of the energy market, and a social security system that has been hollowed out by a decade of cuts and freezes.”
Our research has found that almost half (47%) of those on low incomes who are not in receipt of means-tested benefits are already going without one essential item or food, one third are in food insecurity and more than one fifth (22%) can’t afford to keep their home warm. Read more: https://www.jrf.org.uk/press/new-evidence-%E2%80%98year-financial-fear%E...