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Campaigners slam chancellor's "shamefull sleight of hand" as energy cap increases

This news post is 7 months old

Bills are still 85% higher than before the energy crisis

Ofgem’s increase to the energy price cap is “dangerously ignorant” and will leave many of the most vulnerable in society struggling to cope this winter, a campaign group has warned.

The Scottish Pensioners’ Forum, the campaigning organisation for older people in Scotland, said that while the chancellor yesterday pledged to honour the triple lock and will be uprating the Basic State Pension from next April, today’s price cap announcement means that many older and vulnerable people will still be facing a very bleak winter.

It means energy bills are still 85% higher than before the energy crisis with many people on low incomes unable to afford heating their homes as winter gets colder.  

Rose Jackson, SPF chair, said: “During his address, the chancellor would have been fully aware of what today’s announcement would bring and yet chose to do nothing on energy – it’s nothing short of shameful.

“This sleight of hand tactic and continued ‘giving with one hand and taking away with the other’ has become all too commonplace from Westminster.

“Ofgem’s announcement is dangerously ignorant of what a 5% increase to energy bills will actually mean in real terms, not only for older and disabled people but for young people, students and families too.

“How can it be that wholesale energy costs have reduced and yet energy bills are still 50% higher than they were two years ago – they must think that we’re all too stupid to work it out for ourselves.”

For pensioners and those living in small households, standing charges represent a significant portion of their energy bills. People living in Scottish Power distribution areas already pay the second highest daily standing charge for their electricity supply.  The Scottish Pensioners’ Forum has recently held a series of meetings with Ofgem where the abolition of standing charges has been consistently raised.

Jackson added: “Dual fuel customers already pay more than £1 per day in standing charges before they even boil a kettle or switch on a light and with no energy support scheme in place this winter, the choice on whether to eat or heat will continue to be all too real.

“Ofgem and the blatantly, entitled energy providers need to stop using standing charges as a cash cow to subsidise the market, recoup their bad debt and prop up failing energy providers – we’ve had enough.”