The weekly stories about the probable energy price cap for this winter are genuinely scaring families across the country.
I will be honest, whilst the current cap is pretty expensive for us personally….we could probably manage. But the prospect of a £4000+ annual energy bill is seriously worrying. For many it will be impossible to cope and not end in serious debt. For others they will simply not be able to pay their bills.
So the government needs to act – and act now. But nothing can be done whilst this zombie government continues. Johnson is off again on holiday and Ministers are absent. Whoever wins the Tory leadership election is going to have to do far more than they are suggesting to their Tory membership in the current hustings
The Tory membership are largely immune from the realities of this energy crisis. The analysis of their membership shows they do not represent the electorate and certainly not the ones worried about putting food on the table in the coming months.
But unless they want to see riots on the streets akin to the Poll tax riots they will need to come up with a fast, bold and expensive solution. Messing around on the margins won’t be an option
It is left therefore to the opposition to do some of the running on this issue and finally today we got some major announcements from the Labour Party about what it * would do.*
Of course what is obvious is that Labour is in opposition. It can propose what it likes but has no power to implement any of the ideas. So it is so depressing seeing this initiative being attacked from the left for not being nationalisation!
Starmer today formally unveiled a plan to freeze the cap on electricity and gas prices at its current level of £1,971 for six months from October. It would shield households from the predicted rise to £3,600 this autumn and beyond that in the New Year.
The early signs are good for Labour: it has gone down well, even among Conservative supporters according to polling in today’s Times newspaper, with three in four Tory voters backing it.
What is always annoying for Labour is the media holding it to forensic account for the sums to add up and for any policy to be fully costed. Where is the money coming from is always the first question from the media – and often in a really aggressive way. This does permeate the public discourse. Voters are still very cynical about Labour spending plans, despite the woeful Tories record on public expenditure and taxation.
This may well not be the perfect solution. It has merits in that is prevents the cost hitting us, but it is not the most progressive way of helping the poorest. We would all be helped (personal cheer from me).
Yes it is expensive. Nationalisation would take too long and would be complex. The companies making the money are not the same as our suppliers and energy prices across the globe are genuinely to blame. Other measures like VAT and grants have gone some way but now look like too little too late.
At least we now have a policy by which to measure the Tory response. Let us see what they come up with. After all only the Tories at the moment can actually do anything! But the oppostion seems to be the ones with the answers for the size of the catastrophe facing millions.