There With You This Winter: Fuel poverty makes a grim outlook for families

Many families will be plunged into fuel poverty this winter.

Many families will be plunged into fuel poverty this winter. - Credit: ARCHANT

Rising fuel prices. Rising energy bills. Shortages in the shops and higher prices, all as winter approaches. And who knows what will happen when flu and the virus combine. It is a grim outlook.

All across Britain some people have to choose between heating, and it’s gone on for years. This year it looks as if the issue will get worse and the numbers of people affected will increase.

Any government can be faced with unfortunate or unexpected events. But we should be clear, government policy is a key part of this crisis. And instead of softening the blows of higher prices for ordinary people, his government is actually making things worse.

It might not seem much to Boris Johnson, who has just swanned off to a £25,000 a week mansion for his holidays, but the £20 a week reduction in Universal Credit will cause real hardship for some of the worst off in our community. Most households receiving Universal Credit already have someone in work, so cuts have nothing to do with getting people back into jobs.

The Tory attack on living standards is even more wide-ranging. Millions of public sector workers, everyone from teachers, to firefighters, police and civil servants have had a pay freeze. This means that once rising prices are included, they are worse off.

The hike in National Insurance will hit millions more, hitting the lowest paid hardest. People on very high salaries will pay nothing extra at all. This government’s policies are very deliberate, very consistent. They always leave people on middle and low pay worse off while protecting the high paid and the rich. It is the opposite of fairness.

Even the fuel crisis itself is partly down to government decisions. It is true that energy prices have risen globally, but only this government bulldozed our main gas storage facility. They were warned it could be disastrous but did it anyway.

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It is a scandal that so many are in poverty, but even worse when we see that the government put them there.

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