As it happenedended1643997749

Cost of living – latest: Water bills to rise as Sunak warns middle earners they’ll ‘feel pinch’ of gas prices

Price cap to rise to £1,971 from April

Rory Sullivan
Friday 04 February 2022 18:02
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Energy bill support ‘under constant review’, says minister

Water bills will rise by almost 2 per cent in England and Wales from April, Water UK has said.

The 1.7 per cent jump will push prices up by roughly £7 to £419 a year.

Meanwhile, the chancellor has warned that workers on average salaries will “feel the pinch” when the energy price cap soars by nearly £700 from April.

Rishi Sunak’s warning comes after the regulator Ofgem revealed that households will have to pay up to £1,971 a year for their annual energy supply, due to a jump in global gas prices.

“The price rise is so significant that it’s not just those families who are on benefits that are going to feel the pinch, it’s actually middle income families as well,” he said.

The government has sought to ease the cost-of-living crisis by offering most households £350 in support. However, critics have claimed this will do little to help those most affected.

The Resolution Foundation think tank has predicted that 5 million households will be under “fuel stress”, twice the current number.

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Welcome

Good morning, and welcome to The Independent’s live blog on the energy crisis that is gripping the UK.

Rory Sullivan4 February 2022 08:11
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Households face worst ever squeeze

British households have been hit by a record rise in energy prices.

Millions more people are likely to be plunged into fuel poverty when the new costs take effect from April.

Our economics editor Anna Isaac has more details here:

Households face worst squeeze ever as Sunak admits income ‘pinch’

Millions worse off as energy price hikes and inflation trigger ‘Black Thursday’ for living costs

Rory Sullivan4 February 2022 08:14
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Government must do more to help poorer families, says National Energy Action boss

The government must do more to help poorer households amid the cost-of-living crisis, the head of National Energy Action has said.

Adam Scorer told ITV’s Good Morning Britain that £350 in support was welcome but “wholly inadequate”.

“It (the Government) has to go deep and it has to understand that this is a crisis that will last for some years. It loves its one-off contributions, its ad hoc arrangements, but that’s just not fit for purpose,” he added.

Rory Sullivan4 February 2022 08:34
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The economic picture is not rosy.

A typical household will have to pay £693 more a year on bills from April, while inflation is at its highest level in almost 30 years.

But what does this mean for you?

Ben Chapman takes a closer look:

How the cost-of-living crisis will affect you as gas, electric and food prices soar

Energy, fuel, national insurance and groceries are all on the rise

Rory Sullivan4 February 2022 08:54
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UK must get off global gas market, warns E.ON chief

Ministers should work hard to achieve zero carbon and get the UK off the global gas market, the boss of one of the largest energy providers has advised.

Michael Lewis, who runs the UK arm of E.ON, told BBC Breakfast: “If we’re really going to tackle long-term energy prices, what we really need to do is drive hard on zero carbon, get ourselves off the global gas market and invest massively in energy efficiency.”

The chief executive also apologised for his company’s “inappropriate” gesture of sending socks to customers to help them reduce their energy bills.

Rory Sullivan4 February 2022 09:15
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Labour criticises government over lack of financial support

#icymi

Labour has hit out at the government’s handling of the energy and cost-of-living crises.

Yesterday, the chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a package for households worth £350 to help people weather spiralling bills.

“What we can do is take the sting out of a significant price shock for millions of families by making sure the increase in prices is smaller initially and spread over a longer period,” he told the Commons.

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves dismissed his proposals, saying there are “high prices as far as the eye can see - this year, next year and the year after that”. She also accused ministers of “giving with one hand and taking it all back later”.

Rishi Sunak announces £350 help package to take ‘sting’ out of rising bills

Chancellor’s intervention follows record-breaking increase to energy price cap

Rory Sullivan4 February 2022 09:40
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More energy prices rises could follow

Energy prices could increase for 22 million households for a second time in less than six months, after the regulator Ofgem gave itself the power to raise the energy price cap more than twice a year.

The move comes as average bills are set to rise by almost £700 from April.

In a letter explaining its decision to suppliers, Ofgem said: “The inability to update the cap more frequently reduces the flexibility for us to consider how best to respond to exceptional circumstances, such as the one we are currently seeing.”

It added that the emergency measure would only be used in “rare” circumstances.

Rory Sullivan4 February 2022 10:00
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More government support over energy bills possible, says minister

Energy minister Greg Hands has not ruled out further government support for customers in the event of more energy price rises.

The Tory frontbencher told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the government would keep things “under constant review”.

He added: “Of course we won’t hesitate to act if we need to to defend consumers.

“But of course we have to recognise the UK is not in any way exempt or immune from high global energy prices.”

Rory Sullivan4 February 2022 10:25
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Cost-of-living squeeze to last for two years, warns Bank of England governor

The governor of the Bank of England has predicted that the cost-of-living crisis will last roughly two years.

Andrew Bailey told the BBC on Friday: “Based on what we see today, I would expect that, so we’re going to start coming out of it in 2023, and two years from now we expect we’ll be back on to a more stable - certainly inflation - back to a more stable position.”

Cost-of-living squeeze to last for two years, warns Bank of England governor

Andrew Bailey warns of ‘difficult period ahead’ as people’s real wages continue to fall

Rory Sullivan4 February 2022 10:48
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Water bills set to rise by almost 2 per cent

Water bills will increase by 1.7 per cent from April in England and Wales, it has been announced.

The rise is small compared to the 50 per cent jump in energy prices, but will still compound the cost-of-living crisis.

Household water and sewerage bills to rise by 1.7%

Water and sewerage bills will increase in England and Wales by almost 2 per cent, Water UK has announced.

Rory Sullivan4 February 2022 11:07

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