On Thursday 21 December, the government released the details of how much the cost of energy has increased by. To say it’s a lot may be the understatement of the year.
The Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has released its quarterly and monthly consumer price indices of fuel. These document the amount that electricity and gas have gone up by. It found that, in real terms (adjusted for inflation), between July and September 2017 (compared to the same period in 2016 [xls, table ‘highlights’]):
- All domestic fuels increased in cost by 3.2%.
- Electricity went up by 7%.
- Liquid fuels, like kerosene heating oil, went up by 12%.
- Solid fuels, like coal, went up by 0.9%.
Only the price of gas came down, and that was by 1.8%.
Meanwhile, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that real wages for the three months to October 2017 were 0.2% lower than the same period in 2016. So our energy is effectively costing us more, while we have less to pay for it with.
And the spiralling cost of energy just exacerbates the problem of fuel poverty.
As The Canary previously reported, the term ‘fuel poverty‘ means a household’s energy costs are above the national median average. That means that, if a household spent this amount, it would leave them officially in poverty by the recognised standard.
In October, the BEIS found that [pdf, p5]:
- The number of households in fuel poverty increased to 2.5 million in 2015 – up from 2.38 million in 2014.
- Fuel poverty contributes to the 25,000 excess winter deaths each year.
- On average it costs a fuel poor household an extra £353 in energy each year compared to the national median amount.
Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey told The Canary that the government isn’t doing enough to deal with rising energy prices and fuel poverty:
It is not enough to simply tackle fuel poverty as a stand-alone issue. The government must tackle the causes of fuel poverty. Without investing in the tools businesses need to drive up wages and productivity, wages will continue to stagnate. And without real government effort to reform our broken energy market and insulate homes as an infrastructure priority, families up and down Britain will continue to suffer.
But this problem is not new. As the BEIS figures also show [xls, table “annual”], between 2006 and 2016 real terms electricity prices rose by 35.8% and gas by 43%. The problem of energy prices and fuel poverty is an entrenched one. And it will take a complete rethink by the government to start fixing it.
– Support the campaign group Taxpayers Against Poverty.
– Read more from The Canary on Energy.
Featured image via Flickr
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?