Energy ‘hammer blow’

transmission tower under gray sky

There’s more bad energy news on the horizon and Bath’s MP, Wera Hobhouse, who is also Liberal Democrat Climate and Energy Spokesperson, is demanding the Government cancel plans to hike the average household energy bill by £500 in April, AND bring in a tax on the bonuses of oil and gas bosses.

The party is calling for cuts to people’s bills instead, combined with a new energy support package for businesses, leisure centres, schools and hospitals across Bath. 

In April the Conservatives are planning to hike the energy price guarantee by £500. 

The Liberal Democrats plans would mean that in Bath and North East Somerset the average household would be £465 better off. In total, B&NES would save a huge £36.5 million.

Wera Hobhouse, MP for Bath

Mrs Hobhouse has said new price hikes now will be a “hammer blow” to families and businesses already struggling and that action is needed now to save people from a cost of living cliff-edge.

Nationally, the Liberal Democrats have set out their plan to tackle the energy crisis including: 

  • A windfall tax on oil and gas companies to raise billions of pounds
  • A cancellation of the Governments £500 energy bill rise in April 
  • A one-off bonus tax on oil and gas executives
  • Doubling the Warm Homes Discount to £300
  • A U-turn on plans to slash energy bill support for businesses, leisure centres, schools and hospitals by 85%, and instead extend current levels of support for another six months

Mrs Hobhouse said: “The Conservatives’ plan to hike energy bills in April will come as a hammer blow to families in Bath already struggling with soaring mortgages and rents, shopping bills and tax rises. 

“With no plan to deal with this cost of living crisis for people or businesses, this chaotic, out-of-touch Government is instead making it much worse because they just do not get it.

“People need real support and that is what the Liberal Democrats are calling for. Sadly, to add insult to injury Rishi Sunak is happy for energy bosses to rake in millions of pounds in bonuses, while families struggle to put food on the table or heat their homes.”

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey added:

“Rishi Sunak must act now to save families from a cost-of-living cliff edge, by cutting energy bills instead of increasing them. People deserve a fair deal – with a large cut to their energy bills, paid for by a proper windfall tax and a one-off levy on the bonuses of oil and gas bosses.”

Meanwhile, another press release has landed from the West of England Combined Authority Mayor’s office.

It also shows that Bath and NE Somerset households face a painful hike to their energy bills in April due to a planned cut in government support.

Watchdog Ofgem has reduced the price cap to £3,280 per year for households from April to July – an almost £1,000 drop from the current £4,279 per year level.

But Bath and NE Somerset locals still face a £900 bump up in their bills with the Chancellor increasing the Energy Price Guarantee threshold from £2,500 a year to £3,000. With the price cap still above the subsidy rate, customers will have little choice but to take on the £500 per year hit, alongside the £400 loss of the energy rebate scheme coming to an end in April.

This is an effective £900 spike in the average Bath and NE Somerset household energy bill – raising the prospect of a sharp fuel poverty rise in the area as residents struggle to cover their costs.

With the price cap expected to fall to about £2,100 from July, Metro Mayor Dan Norris has urged the Chancellor to keep current support in place until then, so people do not face three months of hardship. In the meantime, he is doing all he can to offer support to residents including investing in emergency support to keep vital energy advice services running as well as bringing forward another £5 million package to get on with retrofitting across the region.

Metro Mayor, Dan Norris

Metro Mayor Dan Norris said: “The Tories’ plan to hike energy bills in April will come as a hammer blow to Bath and NE Somerset families already struggling to make ends meet in the face of soaring food shop bills, mortgages and taxes. The Government must cancel April’s energy hike paid for by expanding the windfall tax on oil and gas giants rolling in extra cash. With the cost of wholesale gas plummeting, the Chancellor has no excuse for not intervening.

Under my leadership, the West of England Combined Mayoral Authority is doing all it can to cut energy bills for people in the long term, including by making our homes and businesses more energy efficient – but in the here and now, it is the duty of ministers to step up and step in.”