Europe

‘Sleepwalking into nightmare’ Brits to need ‘minimum £1000’ extra to cope with energy cost

Simon Francis says households need extra £1000 from government

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The End Fuel Poverty campaigner insisted Britons need progressive policies in order to keep the Government from having to intervene every year to help citizens with the cost of living crisis. He said Westminster needs to put an additional £600 into their household aid scheme to ensure enough help is provided to tackle growing energy bills. Speaking to LBC, Simon Francis said: “The first thing we need to see is emergency financial support for all households in addition to the £400 that’s already being given by the Government and is coming off people’s bills.

They’ve established a mechanism to do that now. I think the starting point is £1000 coming off people’s bills to try and get us down to the levels that are nearer to where we were.

“It’s huge, it’s an absolutely huge amount of money but this is the biggest crisis that is affecting people’s finances since the banking crash and it needs a response that is commensurate with that level of crisis.

“We need support but we also need more increased targeted support for those groups that are on benefits, the elderly.

“What we also need to do is also appreciate this is a big financial crisis but it happens every winter.”

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He added: “We don’t want to see people living from year to year relying on the Government coming in at the last minute to give them support.”

Gordon Brown has said much of the progress of the last 30 or 40 years has been lost as he called for urgent Government intervention to avert a household crisis.

The former Prime Minister told BBC Radio 4’s World At One programme: “I feel that we’re at a moment when a lot of the gains of the last 30 or 40 years have been lost, when people are being forced into dire poverty in a way that I did not expect would ever happen again in my lifetime. I believe the Government can act now.

“You look around Europe and you look at what individual governments are doing.

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“Some are freezing of course energy prices, some are intervening with bigger windfall taxes to pay for things, so there’s a lot of action happening in the rest of Europe. The question is, what are we going to do here?”

The issue of increasing costs has been at the centre of the ongoing Tory leadership contest.

Former Tory Party co-chairman Oliver Dowden labelled Liz Truss’ planned reversal of the rise in National Insurance contributions as “insufficient”.

Mr Dowden, who backs Rishi Sunak, told BBC News: “You’re going to see energy bills going up to almost £4,000 and if you look at the idea of the tax cuts, this idea of reversing the National Insurance contributions, that’s only going to benefit someone working full time on the national living wage by less than £60.

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“Contrast that with whoever the Prime Minister is, they’re going to get a benefit of about £1,800.

“So this isn’t the way to help people through this very difficult period”.

Mr Dowden added: “We have been clear that we will provide that direct support and the tax cuts just will not be sufficient.”

Ms Truss has pledged to “immediately” cut taxes if she wins the race for No 10, accelerating the reversal of the National Insurance rate rise by six months.

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