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26 Aug, 2022 12:54

UK facing ‘national disaster’ – London mayor

Sadiq Khan calls for an immediate bill freeze after energy regulator Ofgem announced a massive price cap increase
UK facing ‘national disaster’ – London mayor

The UK is facing a “national disaster” if the government fails to act immediately to solve the energy crisis, London Mayor Sadiq Khan warned after energy regulator Ofgem announced that the price cap on the average energy bill would increase to £3,549 ($2,323) from October.

Khan made the comments on Friday after Ofgem announced the 80% hike in the price cap, as struggling British households face what the mayor said would be a “bleak winter.”

The new price cap is almost triple what it was last October when it was raised to £1,277 ($1,505).

“With energy prices soaring and more families struggling to make ends meet, this government needs to step up and take urgent action now,” Khan said, arguing that the government has “consistently failed” to intervene and ministers “must act now to prevent this cost of living crisis becoming a national disaster.”

Brits “desperately need to know” what Westminster’s plan of action is, Khan added. Khan called for an immediate bill freeze and the introduction of a 'Lifeline Tariff' to ensure the most vulnerable in society receive a certain amount of free energy.

The mayor also pointed out on Twitter that there is "no actual cap" on the maximum that can be paid, and that the figure is just the cap for "those on average use.” Consumer champion Martin Lewis echoed that concern, saying nothing is stopping some households from paying £10,000 ($11,821) a year.

Lewis also said a movement is growing for Brits to refuse to pay energy bills, telling Good Morning Britain on Friday that if the government does not implement emergency measures, the 'Don't Pay' movement "are going to become a louder voice in this country." 

The Don't Pay movement states on its website that it is building its strength and "mobilizing for a non-payment strike" among those who want to challenge a "rigged system.”

Meanwhile, the Trades Union Congress said on Friday that energy prices are now rising 35 times faster than wages and 57 times faster than benefits, warning of a "catastrophic" situation if a bill freeze is not implemented.

Jonathan Brearley, the chief executive of Ofgem, admitted that the price cap increase will have a “massive impact” on households across Britain, which will have to make “difficult decisions.”