Posted: Fri 12th Aug 2022

Energy bills will cost two month’s wages next year if ministers don’t act, warns TUC

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Aug 12th, 2022

Energy bills are now expected to cost more than two months of average take-home pay in 2023, according to new analysis from the TUC.

Average take-home pay (after tax) will be £2,054 per month in 2023 based on Bank of England forecasts, so at £4,108, two months’ pay will be less than the £4,200 predicted cost of energy bills per household in 2023.

The TUC is calling on the UK government to bring trade union and business leaders into the Treasury to devise an urgent response to the crisis together – just as happened during the pandemic.

The union body is calling for a series of measures, including stopping the October energy price cap increase, bringing forward the annual increase in the national minimum wage from next April to October, and funding pay rises for public sector workers that keep up with inflation.

The TUC says the “current crisis has hit families at a time when they were already more than a decade into the longest and deepest squeeze on wages for 200 years – a political choice of the last 12 years of Tory governments.”

The union body adds that “the wages crisis has been compounded by the shock to energy prices.”

“Instead of investing in energy efficiency and renewable power sources, a privatised energy market creamed off excess profits while leaving us all vulnerable to unstable global markets.”

The TUC says that the UK government should set out a programme to make UK living standards more resilient and the UK economy more resistant to a future crisis.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “No one should struggle to get by in one of the richest countries in the world.”

“But up and down the country, millions of families are being pushed to the brink by eyewatering energy bills. With prices set to skyrocket even further, it’s time to say enough is enough.”

“Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak need to wake up to the size of this crisis. This requires a pandemic-scale intervention.”

“Ministers must cancel the catastrophic rise to energy bills this autumn. And to make sure energy remains affordable to everyone, they should bring the energy retail companies into public ownership.”

“Ministers should also act to boost pay – as well as Universal Credit, pensions and the minimum wage by bringing forward planned increases to October.

“And they should fund it through a bigger windfall tax on the obscene profits of energy giants.”

She added: “Without a long-term plan to prevent a similar living standards emergency, we will keep lurching from crisis to crisis.”

“After the longest and harshest wage squeeze in modern history, that means getting wages rising in every corner of the country by strengthening collective bargaining.”

“It means boosting Universal Credit so that working people have an adequate safety net.”

“And it means fixing our broken energy market by lifting the burden of failed privatisation off families to get bills down for good.”

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