The energy crisis is real and it is terrifying.
The failed energy market is likely to demand £4,200 per household by the end of the year. That is an astronomical amount for the average household and, of course, this could be even higher for the elderly, the disabled and those trapped at home through no fault of their own. For these people there is no option but to try and pay.
Decades of a failed energy policy has brought us to our knees. We need urgent legislation to deal with this problem now. It is time to stop paying out huge dividends to the wealthy shareholders of these failed energy giants and instead set up a public company run for the people, by the people, building in real protection and carrying the nation through this period.
While Truss and Sunak squabble over who will be the next Prime Minister, neither of them is offering a real solution to the energy crisis. Both Sunak and Truss have propped up Boris Johnson and they are responsible for leading Britain into this crisis.
Neither of them is fit to hold the office of Prime Minister. They do not deserve to take over the reins at No.10. While they want to suppress pay and cut taxes to win over their members, they are forgetting the country is facing a precipice when it comes to energy costs.
Neither is offering an emergency budget and energy strategy, yet without these in place, all that will happen is more and more taxpayers’ money will be fed into the stomachs of the fat cats of the oil and gas sector.
Labour has revealed how the Chancellor currying favour with the energy giants means that the Energy Profits Levy will see 91.25 pence out ofresult in every £1 will returned 91.25 pence back into their grubby hands in additional tax relief – as if they needed to add to their billions in profit while people fear cold and hunger.
Why do oil and gas companies have to make a profit? We should be winding down our dependency, at breakneck speed, to divert away from the demanding unit prices of energy and the global climate crisis, and instead investing in a new generation of renewable energy through a state-owned public company. This is why national industry is so important – you can invest and protect together.
A government that takes the provision of affordable energy seriously would scale up its renewable offer at pace. A government taking the needs of its citizens seriously would protect the poor, disabled and elderly altogether.
Instead, this autumn, we are going to have to come to terms with the fact that in 2022, people will be under their duvets all day, sitting on buses to keep warm and for those who dare switch the heating on they risk falling into debt.
Labour has called for VAT to be cut from energy bills, as it is no luxury, for six months, and for a windfall tax, which had it been collected would have returned £2bn to taxpayers.
This is why politics matters. The choice is between the Tories who take care of their friends, or Labour protecting the people.
Already we are seeing people at food banks reaching for food that does not require heating. Please support food banks if you can as the demand is unprecedented and we need their supplies replenishing.
The cost of food is going through the roof. Simply running a lorry is almost 50 per cent more expensive than it was a year ago with Brexit, labour shortages and fuel costs hampering the sector.
During the pandemic we pulled together to protect one another, check in on our neighbours and ensure that everyone had what they needed.
We need to do the same again. I want warm community centres where people can gather to keep warm, find warm clothing and get a hot meal. If we have means, we need to be generous.
Above all, I want people to have decent wages, pensions and benefits to help them get through this. For those who struggle, I know there are thousands in this situation in York. We have got to stick together and fight back together.
As for businesses, no relief is in the offing. Churches and charities are also facing steep rises, with no relief. While struggling with paying off Covid loans, the energy bills are dropping through letterboxes. It is a worrying time for all.
My fight for you has started. I have heard your stories and am retelling them, to hold those in power to account, while trying to protect you all. Protect you from debt and despair and where possible the cold and hunger, too. An army of kind people are rising up in York, once again to help. Let’s work together. Together we are are strong and together we can get through this.