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Energy prices could rise to nearly £3,000 a year from October this year, leading to fears households already fighting the cost of living crisis could be forced into unsustainable spending just to keep the lights on.

And a local MP has slammed the UK Government for not doing more to help people facing the biggest cost of living crisis since the 1970s.

The Chief Executive of energy regulator, Ofgem, made the announcement in front of MPs at Westminster on Tuesday.

The forecast increase will mean the energy price cap has risen by 119% in the space of a year, from £1,277 to £2,800.

And the Ofgem chief admitted as many as 12 million households across the UK could be plunged into fuel poverty – defined as spending more than 10% of income on home energy – if the rise goes ahead.

So far UK Government help with fuel bills has been limited to a compulsory £150 loan for electricity customers, to be repaid on electric bills over the next five years.

Other European countries have provided direct support to customers feeling the pinch, with France capping price increases completely.

Meanwhile UK customers have been hit with a double whammy, with poverty charities warning the price rises are unaffordable by most.

Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, called for urgent action to protect households from the price rises.

He said:

“This latest announcement of yet more extortionate price rises is more evidence of complete market failure under the watch of both the UK Government and the supposed regulator.

“In the space of a year households will see their energy costs more than double, yet the only help they’ve seen from the UK Government is a compulsory loan which will increase their electric bills even further for the next five years

“Put quite simply, both government and regulator have plunged millions of households into fuel poverty through their inaction, incompetence, and inertia.

“Virtually every other country in Europe is providing direct help to consumers and households to reduce the overall cost of energy, and France has capped rates completely. In the UK all we’ve had is a forced loan added to our electric bills for the next five years. What use is that next year when bills are completely unaffordable?

“Ordinary people need real action from this Government to tackle energy costs and the cost of living crisis, yet the only action we see is from the Prime Minister’s lockdown parties.

“If the UK Government doesn’t take action now, millions will be forced to endure the worst winter since the 1970s and many more will have to choose between heating and eating. In a wealthy country such as ours, that is an utter disgrace.”


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