Britain's energy crisis has been years in the making, thanks to the Conservatives

Photograph: Rosemary Roberts/Alamy

Rocketing heating bills owing to dramatic gas price rises are just the latest chapter in Britain’s mounting cost of living crisis. From food price-hikes to increasing transport costs, this new bout of inflation is hitting essential goods – and that means the poorest people will be hit the hardest. So no one should be surprised that Boris Johnson has dismissed these problems. He wants us to think it’s all a global problem, with nothing unique to the UK. And he wants us to think it will all be over quickly.

Of course, the reality is somewhat different. While rising gas prices are a global phenomenon, British consumers will be hit hard because energy policy in the last six years has been an unmitigated disaster – with fewer homes being insulated and with measures for diversifying the UK away from overdependence on gas needlessly stalled. Within the last 18 months alone, the Conservatives have launched, mismanaged and then scrapped a Green Home Grant scheme; their flagship policy to help people cut their heating bills failed totally, and nothing has been put in its place.

Johnson’s botched Brexit deal is unquestionably a UK-only phenomenon and a major cause of rising food prices. The shortages of lorry drivers, farm workers and staff in the food processing sector – from chicken processing units to abattoirs – are adding to these pressures.

Despite the lowest paid being among the worst hit by these Conservative policy failures, Johnson seems determined to make it even worse for them – by slashing support and raising taxes for the low paid. The Conservatives’ cut to universal credit will plunge an estimated more than 800,000 people into poverty. On top of that, their unfair and manifesto-breaking increase to national insurance will disproportionately hit the young and those on low and middle incomes.

Our carers, nurses and other vital frontline workers sacrificed so much during the pandemic to keep the country going. Many of them are on low pay. A NHS healthcare assistant, for instance, is likely to be on universal credit, and the combined impact of the cut and NI rise will mean a £940 hit to their income, more than wiping out the 3% pay rise announced earlier this year.

And that’s before rising prices make it even worse. Last month’s rise in year-on-year inflation was 3% – with the monthly rise of 0.6% in August being the largest increase ever recorded using the Treasury’s favourite CPIH measure of inflation. The timing of this new cost-of-living crisis could not have been worse. Millions of families already struggling will now face rising energy bills as we enter the colder months.

As secretary of state for energy and climate change, I was proud of the role the Liberal Democrats played in weaning the UK off both coal and gas – for instance, when we nearly quadrupled the UK’s renewable energy between 2010 and 2015. Our policies led to massive investment in onshore and offshore wind and solar, and brought in new standards for zero-carbon housing and tough regulations on energy firms to force them to promote home insulation to cut customers’ heating bills and tackle fuel poverty. From promoting district heat networks to pushing National Grid and Norway’s StattNet to build the world’s longest subsea cable to link the UK to cheap hydropower, we were developing the low-carbon energy infrastructure to tackle climate change and improve the UK’s energy security.

Most of that stopped under the Conservatives after 2015. They privatised our Green Investment Bank, scrapped new homes standards, stopped onshore wind, damaged our solar industry and failed to take any serious new initiatives. Indeed, energy policy has effectively been stalled for six years.

And guess what? Tory climate sceptic backbenchers and their backers are now arguing that the current energy crisis shows why we must scrap green levies and subsidies for the renewables industry. This isn’t just wrong because it would be embarrassing ahead of the forthcoming Glasgow Cop26 summit. It’s factually wrong. Almost all of the renewable power plants built thanks to Liberal Democrat policies are now paying the consumer back: with the wholesale price of power so high because of increased fossil fuel prices, renewables pay back the difference between a higher wholesale market price and the guaranteed price (“the strike price”) in their contract.

The Conservatives’ failure to tackle the cost-of-living crisis is just the latest example of the party taking people for granted. In the Chesham and Amersham byelection, so many lifelong Conservative voters told us that Johnson’s incompetence and lack of decency would cause them to vote for us. They felt taken for granted by the prime minister. A Conservative winter of discontent could yet see that light go on for many of the party’s other former supporters.

  • Ed Davey is leader of the Liberal Democrat party and a former secretary of state for energy and climate change

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Cristiano Ronaldo backs Manchester United to adapt and overcome slow start

© Provided by WION Manchester United’s players need time to adjust to each other and their playing styles, forward Cristiano Ronaldo said, encouraging his team to overcome their inconsistent start to the ... Read more »

Lalu Prasad likely to hit campaign trail

© Provided by The Times of India PATNA: RJD chief Lalu Prasad will reach Patna on Sunday after a gap of over three years. He will land at the airport ... Read more »

‘Conscious possession' not proved, NCB-accused freed

© Provided by The Times of India MUMBAI: Upholding an acquittal in an NCB case over an alleged haul of mandrax tablets 30 years ago, the Bombay HC recently held ... Read more »

Nigerian gunmen use dynamite to break into prison, free over 800 inmates

Gunmen attacked a jail in Nigeria’s Oyo State late on Friday and freed over 800 inmates by force, the third such major attack this year, prison service said in a ... Read more »

ED to probe Kerala church land deals

© Provided by The Times of India KOCHI: The Enforcement Directorate has launched an investigation into the controversial land deals of the Ernakulam Angamaly archdiocese. The ED has registered an ... Read more »

Fazilka double murder: 14 accused still at large

© Provided by Hindustan Times The Moga police have booked 17 persons for the Fazilka double murder and arrested only three of them so far. (AFP) Six day after the ... Read more »

Ludhiana: Income tax raids continue for third day

© Provided by Hindustan Times Police personnel deployed outside a house in Model Town area during income tax raids in Ludhiana on Thursday. (HT FILE) Income-tax (I-T) raids on bicycle ... Read more »

Injured film director Joel Souza “gutted” by death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins

© via REUTERS Film director Joel Souza A film director who was injured when Alec Baldwin fatally shot a cinematographer with a prop gun has broken his silence following her ... Read more »

Disabled people struggling to hire carers after Brexit

© Provided by The Guardian Photograph: Sophia Evans/The Observer Disabled people are struggling to hire carers to help with vital daily tasks due to low pay and Brexit, the Observer ... Read more »

Holidaymakers may need three Covid vaccines to travel abroad next summer

© PA Wire A record 234,000 booster vaccine bookings were made on Wednesday, says health minister. – PA Wire Holidaymakers may need three doses of the Covid vaccine if they ... Read more »

Tulsi Gabbard rails against 'establishment elite'

There is a bigger problem in politics than partisanship — that’s according to former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. © Provided by Washington Examiner The Hawaii Democrat, who ran for president in ... Read more »

Maynilad moves water service interruptions to Oct. 29 to Nov. 1

© Danny Pata Residents of TS Cruz in Almansa Dos, Las Piñas City, fetch water from a deep well on Thursday, May 2, 2019, following a water service interruption of ... Read more »

Obama gives fiery speech for McAuliffe: 'Don't sit this one out'

RICHMOND, Va.- Former President Obama delivered a fiery address campaigning for Virginia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe on Saturday, urging Democrats to flock to the polls and taking a number ... Read more »

Volvo C40 Recharge review: the sleek and swift coupe-crossover

Volvo is doing its bit to save the planet, and it has an ambitious plan for a zero emissions future. Volvo C40 Recharge By 2025, 50% of its global sales ... Read more »

Chris Kane 'lucky' over Celtic flashpoint as Sportscene pundits deliver red card verdict

Chris Kane has been told he was “very lucky” to escape a red card against Celtic. The St Johnstone striker became involved in an incident with defender Cameron Carter-Vickers during ... Read more »

Tyler Lockett Player Prop Bets for NFL Week 7 - Seattle vs. New Orleans

Discover player props odds, plays, and insights for Tyler Lockett in his Week 7 contest with the Seattle Seahawks against the New Orleans Saints. © Provided by Sports Illustrated Oct ... Read more »

Texans activate Kevin Pierre-Louis from injured reserve

© Provided by NBC Sports The Texans activated linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis from injured reserve Saturday. He returned to practice Oct. 6, so the Texans were approaching the end of the ... Read more »

Falling Into Your Smile lead star Xu Kai, bet din ng Pinoy fans

© Provided by PEP.ph Ang original soundtrack album [OST] ng Falling Into Your Smile ang isa sa mga sinasabing dahilan kaya tinangkilik ng publiko at nagtagumpay ang nabanggit na Chinese ... Read more »

Minister says pandemic help, including military support, approved for Saskatchewan

OTTAWA — Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says the federal government has approved a request for pandemic aid in Saskatchewan, including military support. © Provided by The Canadian Press Blair ... Read more »

What's Your Favorite Olivia Rodrigo ‘Sour' Music Video? Vote!

Read more »

Lala Kent celebrates three years of sobriety

© Bang Showbiz Lala Kent Lala Kent is celebrating three years of sobriety. The 31-year-old star has taken to Instagram to celebrate the landmark moment, posting a photo of herself ... Read more »

The Kapil Sharma Show, October 23, 2021, Written Update: A tribute to legend Jagjit Singh

© Provided by Pinkvilla As the episode starts, Kapil Sharma welcomes everyone on the show. He gives Archana a heads-up that today’s episode will be blessed with some beautiful music. ... Read more »

Perez fastest as Verstappen, Hamilton lose lap times

Sergio Perez topped the timesheets for an on-form Red Bull in United States GP final practice, as both Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton saw their fastest times deleted for track ... Read more »

Bayo on target as Clermont suffer defeat against Simon's Nantes

Mohamed Bayo found the back of the net for Clermont in their 2-1 defeat against Moses Simon’s Nantes in Saturday’s Ligue 1 fixture. The Guinea striker pulled a goal back ... Read more »

17 PU teachers named among top 2% scientists in world by Stanford

© Provided by Hindustan Times Two lists have been created for the top 2% scientists; the first list is based on the career-long data, wherein PU’s 17 scientists have featured. ... Read more »

Aides of Captain Amarinder, Sidhu in Twitter war over ex-CM's Pakistan friend

© Provided by The Times of India CHANDIGARH: Former Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh’s media adviser Raveen Thukral and Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu’s adviser Mohammad Mustafa got into ... Read more »

Strictly's Dan Walker supports co-star Adam Peaty after 'almost kiss' with Katya Jones

Breakfast host Dan Walker and his wife have laughed off the furore over his Strictly co-star Adam Peaty’s “almost kiss” with professional partner Katya Jones. The BBC star says Sarah, ... Read more »

Court extends Singhu lynching accused's police custody by two days

© Provided by Hindustan Times Counsels for the four accused opposed the prosecution plea in court and contended that the police had recovered weapons used in the crime, blood-stained clothes ... Read more »

Dune sets a new record and tops the Friday box office at $17.5 million

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Dune debuted at the top of the domestic box office as the science-fiction epic raked in $17.5 million on Friday.  The film set ... Read more »

Sufficiency of cause does not give indefeasible legal right to ‘perpetual litigant': HC

© Provided by Hindustan Times The court observed that the explanation given by the UHBVN does not inspire confidence as specific dates have not been given to explain each day’s ... Read more »

HC gives Haryana six months to finalise promotion policy for differently-abled employees

© Provided by Hindustan Times The benefit of reservation in promotion is not limited for once and has to be given in each cadre to give effect of 3% reservation. ... Read more »

Panic for platelets spikes demand in Lucknow as dengue cases rise

© Provided by Hindustan Times Panic for platelets: The KGMU blood bank has observed a demand of about 150 units in the last one day, against the usual demand of between ... Read more »

Cristiano Ronaldo explains when he will retire and what he wants to achieve

Cristiano Ronaldo insists he has no plans to retire from Portugal duty for the sake of his club career. The Manchester United forward is the leading scorer in men’s international ... Read more »

Bayern star Joshua Kimmich unvaccinated due to 'personal concerns'

© Provided by WION Joshua Kimmich revealed Saturday he has opted not to be vaccinated against Covid-19 due to “personal concerns” even with Bayern Munich head coach Julian Nagelsmann currently in quarantine ... Read more »

Crew says there were 2 accidental weapon discharges before fatal shooting on 'Rust' set

Crew members said that there were two accidental weapon discharges on the set of “Rust” before Thursday’s fatal shooting, according to multiple reports. © Alec Baldwin – Image credit: Associated ... Read more »

Hungary's Orban accuses EU, US of meddling in 2022 election

© Provided by Al Jazeera Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban called on his supporters to vote for his conservative party, which has been in power since 2010 [Marton Monus/Reuters] Prime ... Read more »

Perez räumt Bestzeit ab - GP USA 2021 - Ergebnis Training 3

© xpb Es zeichnet sich eine spannende Qualifikation ab. Im dritten Training auf dem Circuit of the Americas balgten sich mit Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren und Mercedes gleich vier Teams ... Read more »

Wayne Rooney too ill to attend Derby's Championship clash against Coventry

Derby boss Wayne Rooney missed his team’s 1-1 draw against Championship rivals Coventry on Saturday afternoon through illness. The Manchester United legend is suffering with a cold and assistant manager ... Read more »

Atherton: Close to 10 out of 10 for England

Mike Atherton reckoned England had come close to producing a 10-out-of-10 performance in their T20 World Cup opener against West Indies. Eoin Morgan’s side dismissed West Indies for just 55 ... Read more »

Former Liverpool coach copies Jurgen Klopp celebration after Blackpool win

Blackpool manager Neil Critchley celebrated his side’s 2-0 win over Preston in a manner very similar to Jurgen Klopp. After seeing his side go level on points with fifth placed ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic