Luke Murphy, associate director for energy and climate at the IPPR think tank, said: “This hike in energy prices will be devastating for many families. Many people simply won’t be able to pay, and others would be forced to choose whether their families go cold or hungry.”
As well as immediate support for families in the form of price freezes or support packages, Murphy called for long-term plans to address the country’s reliance on fossil fuels and their volatile prices.
“That means a big expansion in clean energy and a national home upgrade and insulation programme to make all our homes warmer and our energy bills cheaper.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has repeatedly refused to intervene, insisting the matter should be dealt with by the new prime minister, who will take office on September 5.
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Writing in the Daily Mail, front runner and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss promised to “take decisive action… to provide immediate support” if she is elected new leader of the Conservative party.
Analysis by the Resolution Foundation revealed, however, that her proposals would benefit richer households far more than poorer households.
Derek Mitchell, chief executive of Citizens Advice Scotland, said the increase should not go ahead, calling it “absolutely horrifying for people who are hanging on by a thread financially”.
“The frightening truth is that people face the very real prospect of freezing or starving this winter without help. We already see a link between demand for energy advice and food insecurity advice, demand for both is rising – even before the weather turns cold.”
Dame Clare Moriarty, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “Every day our advisers help people in desperate situations: people who can’t get to the end of the month without a food bank voucher, parents unable to afford nappies and patients with no credit to call their GP.
‘‘Without more support, the soundtrack to winter will be the beeping of emergency prepayment meter credit running out and the click of lights and appliances being turned off.
“We need a plan not platitudes. Government support has to match the scale of this crisis, there must be a financial lifeline for those who need it most.”