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There will be ‘people on the streets’ without more help with energy bills, Tory MP warns

Companies warn customers being asked to pay the equivalent of ‘£25 a pint’

Kate Devlin
Whitehall Editor
Monday 22 August 2022 12:11 BST
Tory MP Kevin Hollinrake says energy crisis will lead to more people 'on the streets'

People will be made homeless this winter without more help to pay skyrocketing energy bills, a Conservative MP has warned.

Rishi Sunak supporter Kevin Hollinrake said that, without extra support, there would be people "on the streets" .

He told Sky News that Liz Truss’s promises to cut taxes would provide only an extra "pound a week" to the poorest households, while at the same time giving about £30 a week to those like his.

"It is simply not right," he said.

"These people are going to be on the streets. Things are going to be that bad for some households."

His comments came as the boss of a leading electricity and gas supplier demanded the next prime minister be installed immediately so they can grip the energy price crisis “for the good of the nation”. Utilita chief Bill Bullen said consumers “cannot wait” for September 5.

The watchdog Ofgem is set to announce another new price cap on Friday, amid spiralling household bills.

On BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, energy bosses said if the prices rises seen had happened in other sectors punters would be paying £25 for a pint of beer. They also accused ministers of letting customers pay the price of the war in Ukraine, as they demanded urgent action.

Labour seized on Mr Hollinrake’s comments, accusing the Tories of being driven more by “hopeless divisions” than concern about energy prices.Shadow communities minister Alex Norris told Sky News: “I think what we heard from Kevin Hollinrake is more reflective of a Conservative Party with hopeless divisions, neither of which think the other one is much good.

“I don’t think the rest of us should think either of them are any good.

“What is really frightening for me is, at a time when families are really struggling, when people up and down the country are so concerned, that the conversation being had in the leadership contest doesn’t seem to reflect those concerns to meet that challenge.”

Labour has called on ministers to freeze the energy price cap this winter and organise a mass home insulation programme.

Greg Jackson, founder and chief executive of Octopus Energy, said a spate of energy companies going bust last year “was driven by gas prices roughly doubling. They’re currently nine to 11 times higher than usual.

“To put that in perspective, if this was beer, we’re talking about the wholesale price being £25 a pint.

“People don’t know what a therm is, but, underneath it, the price per therm has gone from 60p to around £5 at the moment and that’s what’s passing through to customers if we don’t do something.”

He added: “There are systemic issues. There are loads of questions of how we pay for this. One thing we can’t do is be expected to pass those costs on to consumers.”

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