Councillor calls for "cancelling" of October fuel rise costs to save  Preston households £1,892 each

Families and households in Preston would save £1,892.68 a year if the predicted October rise in energy bills is scrapped.I
Coun John PotterCoun John Potter
Coun John Potter

But if it is not cancelled they will face a total bill of £113m following the autumn price hike.

Those are the predictions from Coun John Potter, the leader of the Liberal Democrats on Preston City Council.

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Coun John PotterCoun John Potter
Coun John Potter
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Now he and his fellow Liberal Democrat councillors are calling on the Government to cancel the expected October increase in the fuel bills price cap. Her said the figures show the real scale of the problem and that people will freeze or starve this winter without a change in Government policy.

Coun Potter said: “Hard-working families in Preston are already struggling to make ends meet, and are deeply concerned about how they will cope with the predicted rise in energy bills. This Conservative Government is stalling in the face of a national emergency and, yet again, is simply not doing enough to put money back in the pockets of hard-working people.”He added: “This is an emergency, and the Government must step in now to help families and pensioners in Preston by cancelling the planned rise in energy bills this October.”

Coun Potter said he had seen major changes in his bills for his semi-detached home. He added: “It was £1,000 a year, but we’re now up to £3,300 a year or maybe even £4,000. People do not have that wiggle room in their finances. I run my own business. I don’t know if I can invest in new equipment because I don’t know if I’ll have the money to do it.”

The Liberal Democrats say the estimated overall £36bn cost of cancelling the expected 70 per cent increase in the energy price cap to £3,400 and supplying gas and electric to customers at current rates should be met by expanding the windfall tax on oil and gas company profits and using the Government’s higher-than-expected VAT revenues which are a result of inflation. The price cap is currently £1,971 a year for a typical household after going up by £693 (54%) in April.

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The party is also calling for more targeted support for vulnerable and low income households. This would include doubling the Warm Homes Discount to £300 and extending it to all those on Universal Credit and Pension Credit, while investing in insulating homes to bring prices down in the long term.

But Coun Potter cautioned that local councils do not have sufficient cash to make a big difference to people’s bills and said: “I think Preston City Council does not have the money to be the hero in this case. What it can do is guide people to where they will get services – no council could deal with this on its own.”

The Liberal Democrats are also calling on the Government to take £300 a year off the heating bills of around 7.5 million vulnerable and low income households, to double the Winter Fuel Allowance, giving up to £600 a year to 11.3 million elderly pensioners to help with their heating bills. The party aso wants an emergency home insulation programme to cut people’s energy bills, starting with homes in or at risk of fuel poverty.