Today the Office for National Statistics ONS released their forecast of consumer price inflation. Inflation rose steeply in October to its highest rate in nearly a decade. The ONS also highlighted the key driver is increased household energy bills. Peter Smith, Director of Policy and Advocacy at fuel poverty charity, NEA, comments:
“The cost of living in the UK is soaring to its highest level in a decade.
“Household energy bills were the biggest driver – which have increased by well over £200 since last winter.
“If energy bills go up again in April by between £400 and £600, as predicted by some energy experts, the cost of heating a home will have more than doubled in a year.
“Over the same period, those on the lowest incomes have seen their income plummet by over £1000 per year. This places an impossible burden on the shoulders of the poorest households and by April an additional 1.2 to 1.5 million more households would be plunged into fuel poverty across the UK.
“Without any additional support, millions are sinking further into debt and many are turning off the heating. This leaves them at acute risk of serious ill-health as we head into colder weather. There is already some worrying evidence that is already leading to premature deaths, with weekly deaths up 16.8% more than the five-year average.
“Soaring gas prices gift Treasury a huge tax windfall. The UK Government should be using these resources to directly help the poorest households reduce their bills. There is also far more the energy regulator, Ofgem, can do help the poorest consumers ”
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