John Knight's January 2022 Talking Politics column for Macclesfield Express

15 January 2022

Households across Britain face soaring energy bills in 2022. Millions of people could be forced into choosing between heating their homes and eating if bills rise by 50% in April, when the energy price cap is updated by Ofgem.

Less than two months on from the Glasgow climate talks, Conservative MPs are calling for the backward and destructive step of removing vital environmental levies, undercutting support for renewable energy.

This government seems perfectly happy to walk straight into another national crisis, knowing full well that the people who will suffer most are already the most vulnerable in society.

Three months ago the Green Party called for emergency winter fuel payments; four months ago we called for insulation grants and have been campaigning for better insulation for years. If the Government had listened to the Green Party in the autumn it could have prevented this bleak situation where millions of people face falling into fuel poverty.

The Green Party has set out clearly how households across the country could benefit from a raft of alternative measures:

  • Provide an emergency grant to homeowners, landlords and councils to fund immediate insulation improvements to those at risk of fuel poverty;
  • Extend winter fuel payments to all by providing each household with an additional £320 to help them pay for spiralling energy costs and avoid fuel poverty;
  • Make the polluters pay by introducing an immediate windfall tax on oil and gas company profits and a longer term policy of a carbon tax;
  • Invest in domestic energy security by massively ramping up onshore and offshore wind and solar and reintroduce the feed-in tariff at a high rate for homes and community projects;
  • Scrap the National Insurance (NI) increase, abolish the lower rate of NI on higher earnings and temporarily remove VAT from domestic fuel.

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