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By Gabriel Davalos, Warm this Winter
We are headed into a potentially catastrophic winter. This autumn, the soaring cost of energy means that millions of people will struggle to afford to heat their homes.
Even with the announcement of recent government support for energy bills, it’s estimated that 7 million households – that’s over 16 million people, including pensioners, disabled people and parents across the UK – will still be in fuel poverty this winter. People are already facing impossible choices – and many more will too unless more action is taken.
But today’s sky-high energy bills are not a ‘one off’: gas prices are predicted to stay high for at least three years. That means that, without action to fix the UK’s broken energy system, energy bills will stay unaffordable for millions of people in winters to come.
Sadly, the government isn’t doing anything to lower our energy bills for good. Its plans to increase domestic gas supply – announcing more North Sea licences and green lighting fracking – won’t lower energy costs. Any extra supply – which will be small and not for many years – won’t affect the price we pay, which is set on international markets. New North Sea drilling and fracking will just make more profit for fossil fuel companies, while worsening the climate crisis.
While our energy bills are going through the roof, oil and gas companies continue to rake in obscene profits. We are paying for this profiteering. In public borrowing and on our bills: even with the massive energy bill bailout, millions of households and thousands of businesses are going to have a long, hard winter.
The only way to lower energy bills for good is to improve the energy efficiency of people’s homes and back Britain’s generation of cheap and clean renewable energy, which is nine times cheaper than UK gas.
This government needs to tackle the real and urgent crisis facing this country and fix the UK’s broken energy system. Everyone deserves to be warm and comfortable in their own home. It’s wrong that people in this country are forced to ride buses or visit public spaces just to keep warm – while, at the same time, oil and gas companies earn vast profits and we subsidise it all.
Together we can make sure everyone is warm this winter and the next. It will take time and hard work, but we must do it. And the good news is the UK has the solutions it needs to lower energy costs – we have some of the best renewable resources in Europe. We just need to use them.
With the right government action, we will all enjoy permanently lower energy bills. We can’t keep shelling out, month after month, to these oil and gas companies. We need a better way to keep warm that all of us can afford and that doesn’t trash the planet.
Last month, over 30 charities, including Operation Noah, the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, RSPB, Oxfam, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the Women’s Institute, launched the Warm This Winter campaign to demand urgent and long-term action on the energy and climate crisis.
Warm This Winter is calling on the government to provide more emergency financial support for people this winter, funding to help people cut their bills with better insulation, and rapidly moves the country away from expensive gas and onto cheaper, renewable energy.
The government needs to act to lower energy bills now and in the future. Together we’re demanding action to keep everyone warm this winter. Join us. You can find out more about the campaign, its partners and demands at www.warmthiswinter.org.uk.